England coach Phil Neville says the Westfield Matildas will provide a far sterner test for his side than Brazil did on the weekend, comparing Alen Stajcic’s side to world champions USA.
The Lionesses host Australia at Craven Cottage on Wednesday morning (AEDT) in a valuable pre-2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup hitout for both nations.
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While England is without midfielder Jill Scott due to an ankle injury, the Westfield Matildas are also without a host of key players who didn’t make the trip to Europe.
But there’s no way Neville and his squad will take Australia lightly.
“It’s going to be a real physical game. Australia are similar to the USA in terms of their physicality,” Neville said on the eve of the clash.
“They’ve got real running power and strength in the team and regardless of who they have brought or not.
“They have players who can play in any league in the world, on any stage and our players are going to have to show their quality.”
England warmed up for their battle with the Westfield Matildas by seeing off Brazil 1-0 at Meadow Lane over the weekend.
It was a strong performance from the world’s number three ranked side but Neville knows they’ll need to show more to beat the Aussies.
“I think it will be a far tougher game. If you watched the game they [Westfield Matildas] played against France, it was an outstanding game,” Neville said.
“They are so fast and they are so physical. We’re going to have to have all our energy, we’re going to have to show all our quality.
“It will definitely be a step up from when we played Brazil on Saturday night that’s for sure and I’ve told the players that.
“If they think that it’s going to be similar to Brazil they are wrong.”