Caitlin Foord says the friendly tag placed on the two-match series against Chile means next to nothing, as the Westfield Matildas look to kick-start their charge to the 2020 Olympic Games.
Ante Milicic's squad reconvened in Sydney this week ahead of their clash with Chile at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
It’s the first time they’ve been together since bowing out of the FIFA World Cup 2019™, but Foord says the team are already looking ahead to the Olympic qualifiers in February 2020 and they are determined to set the tone against Chile for what’s to come.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve been together,” Foord said.
“Leaving on the note we left the World Cup, it’s almost like unfinished business.
“It’s nice to be back around the girls again, we play against each other a lot so it’s always fun when we’re together and we get to play together, especially here in Australia as well.
WESTFIELD MATILDAS: Westfield Matildas v Chile: match preview
WESTFIELD YOUNG MATILDAS: FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup 2020 dream still alive
“We don’t get many games together, so every game, every training session, that counts.
“This is all leading up to the Olympics, so it definitely starts now and these games are just as important as the ones we’ll play there.”
Chile return to Australia for matches on Saturday, 9 November, in Sydney, and Tuesday, 12 November, in Adelaide, after a similar double-header in November 2018 where both the Westfield Matildas and the visitors won a game apiece.
In the second game of Chile’s 2018 trip, Foord had a field day, dispatching a second-half hat-trick against the South American outfit as the Westfield Matildas won 5-0 in Newcastle.
ANNOUNCEMENT: Westfield Matildas finalise partnership with Pantene
#WeAreUnbreakable: Westfield Matildas support the Ribbon of Strength campaign
Now, as she prepares to face the same opposition one year later, Foord is preparing to feast on the Chile defence once more.
“Three in a game is obviously amazing,” Foord said.
“If that was to happen again it would be really nice, but I think the main goal is just to win.
“I didn’t go out to score three goals, it just happened.
“If it happens again it would be nice, but if not that’s alright – just hopefully we win.”
After two hotly-contested games against Chile last year, the Westfield Matildas are ready to put on a similarly fierce showing this time around, to lay the groundwork for their qualification run to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
With international hit-outs spread sparsely across the football calendar, Foord knows the Westfield Matildas have to approach every game with the same hunger and energy to win, as they set their sights firmly on Olympic gold.
“The first step is to qualify [but] we don’t just want to qualify, we want to go there and win the tournament as well,” Foord said.
“It would be so nice to win a gold medal, that would be everyone’s dream.
“Gold would be amazing but any medal would be a massive achievement.”
Foord and her Westfield Matildas teammates will play their first ever game at Bankwest Stadium this Saturday afternoon, and are expected to play in front of a record home crowd.
With the prospect of playing in front of an adoring fan base, coming out in numbers never seen before, Foord says the raucous home atmosphere will inspire the Westfield Matildas to put on a show fitting to the occasion.
“The biggest thing for me is playing at home when we sing the national anthem,” Foord said.
“I just remember the first time that happening I had goosebumps because it was incredible.
“Everyone is there singing along as well, that’s not something we’re 100% used to because, playing overseas, we normally just hear ourselves.
“It will definitely give a lift within the team without [us] even noticing.
“Having that many people there and knowing this is your home country, and they’re here for you.
“Family and friends that don’t always get to come watch as well. It will definitely [give us] a lift from the start without even trying.”