The Westfield Matildas stand on the cusp of a third consecutive AFC Women’s Asian Cup final if they can get past Thailand in a semi-final on Tuesday night (AEST).
With their berth at next year’s FIFA World Cup in France now secured, Alen Stajcic’s squad will now look to go all the way and land another piece of silverware.
Australia boasts a perfect record against Thailand in five previous meetings but it’s never a sure thing when you are fighting to get into the final of a major tournament.
WHERE AND WHEN
King Abdullah II Stadium, Amman, Jordan
Date: Tuesday, 17 April local and AEST
Kick-off: 4:45pm local (11.45pm AEST)
Australia has faced Thailand five times in the past, winning all five of those matches and conceding just one goal in that span.
The Westfield Matildas have been dominant in every clash, amassing 20 goals in total, including a 5-0 drubbing just last month in a friendly in Perth.
Before that pre-AFC Asian Cup friendly, the most recent clash was in a qualifier for the London Olympics seven years ago. Michelle Heyman scored her first two international goals in the clash, a comfortable 5-1 win for the Westfield Matildas in Jinan.
Current Westfield Matildas star Lisa De Vanna starred in another clash with the Thais in Adelaide in 2006, scoring in a -0 drubbing at Marden Sports Complex to send the Aussies into the semi-finals of the Women’s Cup.
PREVIOUS RESULTS v THAILAND
03‐06‐88: at International Women's Tournament in Jiangmen - Won 3–0
24‐07‐06: at Women’s Cup in Adelaide ‐ Won 5–0
09‐10‐08: at ASEAN Championship in Ho Chi Minh City - Won 2–0
03‐09‐11: an Olympics Qualifier in Jinan - Won 5–1
26-03-18: a friendly international in Perth – Won 5-0
AUSTRALIAN SQUAD NEWS
There’s an embarrassment of riches at Stajcic’s disposal. With a four day gap since their last game against Japan, the eleven that started that match have had plenty of time to recover and refresh.
But the Westfield Matildas boss may still look to change things up, especially with the prospect of a final to come on the weekend.
The likes of Elise Kellond-Knight, Hayley Raso, Kyah Simon and Laura Alleway could all come into the starting side after being on the bench against the Samurai Blue.
CURRENT WORLD RANKINGS
While you can never take anything for granted in a semi-final, it’s hard to see anything but a Westfield Matildas win here.
The squad – boosted from locking up their spot in France next year – are confident, hungry and focused on going one better than four years ago.
Stajcic will ensure complacency won’t be a factor and if they can continue to play their up-tempo, free-flowing attacking game, they should have too much quality for Thailand.
It’s worth staying up to watch this one as the Westfield Matildas aim to qualify for the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup final!