The Westfield Matildas are 90 minutes away from a berth at next year’s EAFF Women’s East Asian Cup and are a squad fully fit and focused on the task at hand.
The Westfield Matildas are 90 minutes away from a berth at next year-s EAFF Women-s East Asian Cup and, crucially, are a squad fully fit and focused on the task at hand.
Due in large part to the efforts of Australia-s support staff in Shenzhen, coupled with the meticulous planning of the Westfield Matildas coaching team, the 11 that will start against China PR will be in prime match condition.
Coping with such a punishing schedule of three matches inside five days was always going to be fundamental to Australia-s chances of success in Shenzhen.
To that end, with all but one member of Australia-s 20-player squad having experienced game time against either Chinese Taipei or Hong Kong in recent days, match time has been well spread across the Westfield Matildas- line up.
The one player yet to appear at Shenzhen Stadium is goalkeeper Brianna Davey, whose stomach muscle injury paved the way for understudy Mackenzie Arnold to record back-to-back clean sheets in her first two senior international matches.
Now fully fit, Davey is eager for her first start of the qualification campaign tomorrow, where any outcome other than a loss will see Australia progress to their first EAFF Women-s East Asian Cup.
“I had a session this morning, I did everything and pulled up really well,” Davey said.
“I-m pumped for the game, hopefully we get a win.
“It-s definitely a big one (the match against China PR), it-ll be an exciting, interesting game and there-ll be good, attacking football from both teams.”
Standing in Australia-s way is a China PR team that will present the Westfield Matildas with unquestionably the toughest test of their time in Shenzhen.
The hosts, like Australia, have recorded back-to-back wins to date, firstly a 6-0 romp over Hong Kong before defeating Chinese Taipei 2-0 last night.
While the current China PR squad isn-t quite reflective of the nation-s outstanding regional record of eight AFC Women-s Asian Cup trophies and two FIFA Women's World Cup semi final appearances, the home side are a no less formidable opponent.
In fact, in recent years Australia and China PR have traded triumphs at senior international level, with China PR-s 1-0 victory in Chengdu in 2010 reversed a year later when the Westfield Matildas claimed a 1-0 win in Jinan.
All signs point to another classic between two of Asia-s traditional rivals tomorrow, where more than just regional bragging rights are at stake.
“It is a quick turnaround, so we-ll be using our full squad, we-ve got a decent twenty players here, everyone can start, I think we-ll be ready for it,” said attacker Tameka Butt, who netted Australia-s first goal in yesterday-s 4-0 win over Hong Kong.
“It-s always tough playing in the home nation, they-re going to have a crowd behind them and we-re used to booing and stuff, but I think it-ll be good competition and it-s always more motivating to beat them on home soil.
“It-s the first time we-ve been involved in this tournament, we really want to get our foot in the door and get over there (to the Korea Republic next year).”
The Westfield Matildas- quest to qualify for the EAFF Women-s East Asian Cup 2013 comes down to their final qualification fixture against China PR at Shenzhen Stadium on Saturday, 24 November. Kick off is at 3.45pm local time (6.45pm AEDT).