Polkinghorne keen to face tough opponents in Spain and Portugal

With the CommBank Matildas set to take on Spain and Portugal in just a few weeks, defender Clare Polkinghorne says it's the perfect opportunity to test themselves against some of the best in the world.

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It will be the first time Australia and Spain have met, with Polkinghorne excited to take on a team in top form, with world-leading players like Ballon d'Or winner, Alexia Putellas and La Roja's top scorer, Jennifer Hermoso.

"Spain are a high-quality team and it’s going to be a great opportunity for us to play against a highly ranked team. They are preparing for a major tournament, the Euros, so they will be in great form," Polkinghorne said.

When Head Coach Tony Gustavsson took the helm in 2020, he made a commitment to seeing that the CommBank Matildas played as many diverse and high-quality teams as possible leading into the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup.

"That’s key for us as a team, to continue to play high-quality opponents with different playing styles, as we continue to build towards the World Cup," Polkinghorne explained.

"It’s important for us to expose ourselves to different types of teams to continue to build on our style of play, and of course to continue to develop combinations against any team we face.

"Spain is a possession-based team who love to move the ball around and control the game with the ball," Polkinghorne said of the CommBank Matildas' newest opponents.

"They are a very technical team and can be very patient on the ball, so it’s going to be a good chance for us to play against a high-quality possession-based team."

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Unlike Spain, the CommBank Matildas do have some history with Portugal, albeit a short one so far.

The first time they met was back in 1999 at the Algarve Cup but they wouldn't meet again until 2018 at the same tournament. From these three matches, the CommBank Matildas were unable to reign victorious, drawing twice and losing once.

Polkinghorne knows the Australian side has their work cut out for them in June but is looking forward to the challenge.

"Portugal is a team that is constantly improving. We haven’t played them for a while now, but each time we do, they are always tough games," she said.

"This will be their final game before the Euros so no doubt they will also be in good form and looking to finalise their preparations."

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This article was originally published on the CommBank Matildas website.