Australia’s attack-minded Matildas are confident they possess the firepower to topple world champions Japan in Sunday’s Asian Cup women’s final in Vietnam.
Having already secured qualification for next year’s World Cup, the Matildas can focus on securing back-to-back Asian Cup titles.
Japan are world ranked third, eight places above Australia, but needed two late goals to earn a 2-2 draw with the Matildas in the opening round of group games.
“Being 2-0 up, we can take a lot of confidence from that and we can believe in ourselves,” Matildas defender Elise Kellond-Knight told AAP.
Diminutive midfielder Katrina Gorry looms as a potential match winner, after scoring a spectacular goal in each of Australia’s last three games.
Australia have scored at least twice in each of their four games after embracing the attacking style of interim coach Alen Stajcic, who was only appointed in mid-April.
“I think we’re getting stronger every game we play together,” Kellond-Knight said.
“We had such a short preparation for this with Staj only coming in a few weeks before we left Australia, so we haven’t had a lot of time to implement the way he wants us to play and we’ve had limited time on the pitch.
“Now we’re starting to put it into practice in games, it’s really coming together.
“We do have attacking weapons. Our front five are just unbelievable and they are unpredictable as well.
“We’ve got so much pace that we create chances in every game we play in and I think Sunday, if we can put away those chances, we’re going to be unstoppable.”
Australia’s cause will be helped by the unavailability of Japan striker Yuki Ogimi, who scored the late equaliser in the group game, but has been recalled by her club team.
Kellond-Knight said Japan were a very tactically smart side, but hoped they would be unsettled by the Matildas aggression.
“Their movement of the ball is usually something that’s quite dangerous.” Kellond-Knight said.
“There’s a lot of interchange of positions, so it’s going to rely on us communicating a lot and staying disciplined>”
Kellond-Knight believed the depth in the Matildas squad which enabled Stajcic to rotate players through four games in eight days could pay off in the final.
“Hopefully there’s going to be tired legs out there compared to our team that hasn’t played as many minutes as Japan,” she said.