‘Reality check’ has Westfield Matildas ready for Asian Cup assault
Veteran goalkeeper Lydia Williams says the Westfield Matildas’ “reality check” at the recent Algarve Cup has the team primed for success at this month’s AFC Women’s Asian Cup.
Alen Stajcic’s side headed to the Algarve Cup in Portugal as the pre-tournament favourites but had to settle for a fourth-place finish at the 12-nation event.
While disappointed not to have performed better at the tournament, Williams believes it’s served as great preparation to take on Asia’s best in Portugal.
The 29-year-old feels the squad has left no stone unturned as they look to go one better than they did four years ago when they lost the final to Japan.
“The W-League has its part where we have come in fresh and game ready when the finals finished and went over to the Algarve Cup,” Williams told matildas.footballaustralia.com.au when asked how well prepared the team is.
“We had some reality checks there which was kind of nice because we haven’t had that recently.
“We’ve come in, spent two weeks together in Perth and now we’re here. We’re pretty prepared, we’ve done a lot of meetings, a lot of video but mostly everyone is focused and ready for the job at hand.”
And they’ll need to be ready with the Westfield Matildas pitted in a tricky group which includes Korea Republic, Vietnam and their nemesis in the 2014 final, Japan.
Williams is one of 14 members of the squad that fell one game short four years ago in what was coach Stajcic’s first tournament as the new boss.
“That was a pivotal tournament for us. We just got a new coach in Alen so that tournament was ground-breaking in itself,” the keeper said.
“We didn’t have a lot of preparation time, where now this time we have had the right preparation…we’ve had a lot of success over the last few years.
“It was heart-breaking losing to Japan, we really wanted that top spot…we’re definitely going out this time looking to win it.”
“It’s going to be difficult. A lot of teams in women’s football have stepped up their game over the past year or so,” Williams added.
“Any team can beat anyone on any given day. We have to approach every game on its merits but it’s nice to touch down [in Jordan] and feel like it’s Asian Cup.”