Too close to call. That's the verdict from Westfield Matildas coach Alen Stajcic as he prepares his charges for the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Final against Japan tomorrow morning [AEST].
“Whoever plays best tomorrow will win and everything else really doesn't matter,” Stajcic told media at the pre-game press conference.
“I know we've had a long history and a long rivalry against each other and all those things combine to make a good story.
“But at the end of the day whoever plays best will win the trophy.
“The teams are so close.
“There are so many strengths that Japan have and that we have.
“When you put it together it makes for a really engrossing match and you really don't know who is going to win,” he said.
The two sides have met once already at the tournament, playing out a 1-1 draw which saw both progress to the semi-finals.
And Stajcic says that clash had all the intensity of a tournament decider.
“It's a very similar moment,” he declared.
“It was like a final.
“If someone won they would finish top of the group and whoever lost would finish third and be eliminated.
“Obviously there's now a trophy on the line, but the meaning behind the match was very similar.
“It's been a tough tournament for both teams.
“We've had tough games against Korea and each other and against China and Thailand as well.
“They're very tough moments and this is a one-off game.”