Westfield Matildas focus on semi-final
The Westfield Matildas face Japan on Thursday as they bid to make the final and qualify for next year's FIFA Women's World Cup.
The Westfield Matildas will begin phase two of coach Tom Sermanni-s plan to qualify for the FIFA Women-s World Cup without key striker Lisa De Vanna who was injured in Australia-s final Group B match against China.
De Vanna, who was in a rich vein of form coming into the tournament, came down awkwardly following a challenge for the ball after coming on as a substitute against China and was stretchered from the Chengdu Sports Center pitch for treatment.
X-Rays later revealed a fracture to the fibula which will see the star striker out of action for up to three months.
“Our first phase was to make it out of the group stage, which we did in the first two matches, now our focus is on winning our semi-final and qualifying for the (FIFA Women-s) World Cup,” said Sermanni.
“Losing a player like Lisa is a huge blow for the team and for Lisa personally as she thrives on playing football.
“I-m still not quite sure how we-re going to juggle the team in Lisa-s absence, whether we stay with a 4-3-3 or go to a more traditional 4-4-2.
“Our focus is still firmly on qualifying for the World Cup and we-ve got two games left to make that happen.
“We-ve spoken as a team about it and our goal is to win one of our next two matches - that gets us to Germany, and I think everyone is fully committed to that goal.”
Players and officials have rallied around De Vanna who will remain with the squad until the team returns on Tuesday, June 2, where De Vanna will begin her recovery in Adelaide with the Westfield Matildas team doctor and head physiotherapist.
“Lisa has a fracture of her left fibula and she has an ankle ligament injury that will keep her sidelined for about three months,” said Westfield Matildas Dr James Illic
“When we return to Adelaide we will get an MRI of her ankle to determine the nature and extent of the ligament injury and an orthopaedic review as she may require surgery depending on the nature of the ligament injury.
For the playing group De Vanna-s absence will be strongly felt but the job is still there to be done and the focus of the whole squad is firmly on winning the semi-final against Japan.
“It-s always tough when you lose a quality player and someone who can make such an impact on the game,” said Westfield Matildas striker Kate Gill.
“We-ve played before without Lisa and done well; we-ve got a squad with players that can definitely do the job and if our senior players can stand up and do the job I think we-ll do quite well.”
“Regardless of who-s playing the goal is still the same, we came here to qualify for the World Cup and that-s exactly what we plan to do.”
The Westfield Matildas play Japan in the first AFC Women-s Asian Cup semi-final tomorrow at 6pm AEST live exclusive on ABC2.
The third place play-off (18:00AEST) will preceed the final (21:30AEST) on Sunday 30th May.
To hear the latest from Servet Uzunlar ahead of the big game check out our video below.