Midfielder Tameka Butt says the Westfield Matildas will head into their second match of the FIFA Women’s World Cup against Nigeria on Saturday (AEST) fully focussed on the task at hand.
“Everyone is feeling pretty good ahead of Saturday. A few players are still recovering from our clash against the USA, but mentally we are prepared for Nigeria now. We’ve definitely switched onto that,” Butt said.
Shot stopper Lydia Williams and co-captain Clare Polkinghorne look to be on the road to recovery from injuries that saw them miss the 3-1 opening group game loss to USA. The duo will be pushing to prove their fitness and could be available for selection this weekend.
Butt says there’s plenty of competition for places in Westfield Matildas’ camp and Butt insists she’s been working as hard as possible on the training park to secure a starting berth against Nigeria.
“I hope to be in the mix. I’ve been training as hard as I can. My position is pretty difficult to get into in the midfield. We have got a great depth of players and there is a real battle for spots.”
Meanwhile, defender Stephanie Catley says she was impressed with her team’s first-half performance against USA, but admits improvements will need to be made for their next match on Saturday.
“We were pretty happy about our first 45 minutes against the US. I think we played some really good football. We were able to dominate parts of that game,” she explained.
“We now have to work on putting on a performance like that for the entire 90 minutes. We need to keep to our structure and remain calm on the ball, and try to control the tempo to the way we want to play.”
Catley expects a tough encounter in Winnipeg on Saturday and says Alen Stajcic’s side will have to keep a close eye on some of Nigeria’s stars.
“I thought they were really good in their first game. I enjoyed watching them play. They are really explosive, strong and really quite good on the ball. They definitely have a few key players that we will be watching closely,” added Catley.
The squad are set to finalise their preparations tomorrow (Friday) with a final training session ahead of Saturday’s clash.