Qantas Matildas to play Japan
Qantas Matildas coach Tom Sermanni has named two uncapped players Sasha McDonnell and Amber Neilson in a 16-strong squad that will travel to Japan for an international match in Tokyo this Sunday.
Qantas Matildas coach Tom Sermanni has named two uncapped players in a 16-strong squad that will travel to Japan for an international match in Tokyo this Sunday.
Qantas Young Matildas striker Sasha McDonnell and Newcastle-based midfielder Amber Neilson will feature in the national team squad for the first time.
The Qantas Matildas returned last week from the prestigious Peace Cup in South Korea where the team defeated the Netherlands but suffered losses reigning Olympic champions USA and world number ten-ranked nation Denmark.
“This match will not only be a significant test against what is one of the best nations in Asia, but also allow me to look at some more players in match conditions as we continue to build the squad ahead of what will be a very heavy schedule next year,” said Qantas Matildas coach Tom Sermanni.
“Sasha showed some really encouraging signs at the U-20 World Cup while both players have also impressed at recent national team training camps.
“The match will also be a great test run ahead of next year-s Asian Olympic qualifiers when we will face lengthy travel for a one-off match.”
The Qantas Matildas last met Japan in the semi final of July-s AFC Women-s Asian Cup in Adelaide with Australia-s 2-0 win ensuring qualification for the 2007 FIFA Women-s World Cup. Japan, who finished fourth at the tournament, will host the match as they continue preparations for their play-off against the third-ranked CONCACAF nation, with the winner to qualify for the 2007 FIFA Women-s World Cup.
The Qantas Matildas squad for match against Japan is:
Goalkeepers - Melissa Barbieri (Victoria), Emma Wirkus (SA)
Defenders - Rhian Davies (NSW), Kate McShea (Qld), Karla Reuter (NSW), Cheryl Salisbury (NSW), Heather Garriock (NSW), Kim Carroll (Qld)
Midfielders - Collette McCallum (WA), Joanne Peters (NSW), Lauren Colthorpe (NSW), Amber Neilson (NSW), Joanne Burgess (NSW)
Forwards - Caitlin Munoz (ACT), Sarah Walsh (NSW), Sasha McDonnell (Qld)
(current home state)
The match will take place at the Fukuda Denshi Arena, Tokyo on Sunday at 1pm local time (3pm AEDT).
The Qantas Matildas have a busy year ahead with their 2008 Olympic qualifying campaign commencing in February next year having been drawn in Group C of the first stage of qualifying alongside Chinese Taipei, Myanmar and Uzbekistan. Should they finish top two in the group the team will progress to the final stage of qualifying and another four team group where DPR Korea await as a seeded team. The final stage of qualifying will be held between April and August with only the top team to progress to the 2008 Olympic Games.
The 2007 FIFA Women-s World Cup is scheduled for September 10-30 in China.