Sport Goals-driven Matildas to show no mercy against Vietnam in Olympics quest

Goals-driven Matildas to show no mercy against Vietnam in Olympics quest

The Matildas were all set for Tokyo. Now they must cool their heels for a further 12 months. Photo: AAP
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Driven by a desire for more goals, the Matildas aren’t planning on showing any mercy to Vietnam in Wednesday night’s Olympic qualifying playoff second leg in Vietnam.

The final step in Australia’s passage to Tokyo 2020, the qualification is all but secure after last Friday’s 5-0 win in Newcastle.

But rather than rest on their laurels after the emphatic victory, winger Hayley Raso says her teammates want to complete their qualifying campaign in style at the Cam Pha Stadium.

“We want to score goals. We want to score more than we did the other night,” said Raso, who plays for Everton in the English FA WSL.

“I think it’s really important as a team to make sure we’re all focused on our own roles and what Ante wants of us and to make sure we’re playing the style of football that we like to play and what we’re good at.

“We want to finish with a lot of goals.”

With qualification all but secured, Matildas coach Ante Milicic may be tempted to rest several of his core players for the match, which will be played behind closed doors due to coronavirus precautions.

Midfielders Katrina Gorry and Aivi Luik, together with defensive duo Jenna McCormick and Karly Roestbakken, will be eager to get a chance to impress as the squad will be cut from 20 to 18 players for the Olympic Games, which will be held from July 24 to August 9.

The Matildas have twice (2004 and 2016) reached the quarter-final stage in Olympic tournaments, but the Samantha Kerr-led side will be keen to better that.

Raso believes whoever takes the field, the boost from Friday’s big win will overcome any hurdles from the travel, short turnaround and a near-empty stadium.

“Having no spectators will be interesting, but for us we know that our job is to play and to win,” she said.

“For us that’s just a bit of background noise and it’s no problem.

“We’re just going to go out there, make sure we perform our roles and wanting to get that win.”

Meanwhile, the Socceroos’ packed 2020 fixture schedule just got a lot busier with Monday’s FIFA decision to postpone upcoming Asian World Cup qualifiers.

Football Federation Australia on Tuesday ruled out seeking any provision to have their March or June qualifiers played as scheduled.

The March 26 clash against Kuwait at HBF Stadium was set to be Australia’s first appearance in Perth since 2016 and FFA said it was committed to keeping the rescheduled match in Western Australia.

“Given FFA’s intent to put the health and welfare of all players, coaches, staff, and fans first, FFA will not to pursue qualification matches in March or June 2020, and will instead consider possible alternate activity options for the Socceroos in the respective windows over the coming days and weeks,” the statement read.

It means Australia’s scheduled matches against Kuwait and Nepal in March and June home games against Taiwan and Jordan will be played at a later date.

With the Socceroos set to play at this year’s Copa America and the Olyroos qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics, Australia’s international football calendar is one of the busiest in its history.

-AAP

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