Westfield Matildas to face DPR Korea in Brisbane

The Australian women’s football team, the Westfield Matildas, will meet DPR Korea for two international friendly matches in Brisbane on the March 3 and 6.

The Australian women-s football team, the Westfield Matildas, will meet DPR Korea for two international friendly matches in Brisbane on the March 3 and 6.

The matches mark a significant step in the Westfield Matildas progress to secure a place at the women-s World Cup in Germany, in 2011.

The two games also mark the first matches in over a year for the Westfield Matildas on Australian soil.

The Westfield Matildas, currently ranked 14th by the FIFA Women-s World Rankings, play Asia-s toughest and highest ranked women-s team, DPR Korea, ranked 5th in the world, who visit Australia for the third time in recent history following matches between the two sides in Coffs Harbour in 2007 and Adelaide in 2006 (the matches ending in a 0-2 loss and 0-0 draw respectively).

“DPR Korea will be a major test for the squad as we prepare for the Asian Cup in May,” said Westfield Matildas Head Coach Tom Sermanni.

“With only three teams able to qualify for the 2011 World Cup in Germany testing ourselves against the best team in Asia will demonstrate just where we currently are in our preparations and where we need to improve to ensure a fifth successive World Cup qualification.”

Coming off the back of two matches against New Zealand, the matches on the 3rd and 6th of March coincide with the Qantas Socceroos Asian Cup qualifier against Indonesia on March 3.

The two matches, both scheduled to be played at Ballymore Stadium, will include a media only access match on March 3 prior to the Qantas Socceroos match at Suncorp Stadium and a match open to the public to be played in front of the Brisbane football faithful on March 6.

With limited games left in Australia before our country-s premiere female footballers leave our shores to chase Asian Cup glory and World Cup qualification the March 6 match will be one of the last chances Australian audiences will have to see their Westfield Matildas in action.

Following the retirement of 17-year Westfield Matildas veteran and former captain Cheryl Salisbury in 2009 the Westfield Matildas have waited on announcing a new captain for over a year.

A decision was made on Wednesday evening prior to the Westfield Matildas first match in New Zealand and Westfield Matildas goalkeeper Mellisa Barbieri was announced Captain and midfielder Collette McCallum as vice-captain.

“It-s been a difficult process under the circumstances coming to the choice of Melissa (Barbieri) and Collette (McCallum), said Sermanni.

“A lot of players were very much in the running for the position as we have an excellent group of leaders in this team.

“The players are very supportive of the decision and Bubs (Barbieri) will now lead us into the Asian Cup campaign in May,” finished Sermanni.

Melissa Barbieri was humbled by the announcement but looks forward to the challenges ahead,

“It-s just the biggest honour to be chosen by your team mates and coach to be captain. Nothings changed between us; it-s the same old Bubs doing what she does just with a new tag,” said Barbieri.

“Following the announcement I was a bit nervous going into my first game as captain but it-s a real honour.

“Cheryl has some really big boots to fill; you can-t replace a Cheryl Salisbury, but I want to be my own captain and go about things the way I always have,” continued Barbieri.

“I-m hoping to carry that through and keep the squad motivated and united going into the Asian Cup in May.”

Football Federation Australia in conjunction with the Qantas Socceroos have introduced a special offer for the Westfield Matildas match - ticket holders for the Qantas Socceroos v Indonesia, Asian Cup qualifier on March 3, can use the same ticket to enter the Westfield Matildas v DPR Korea match on March 6.

The March 6 match will be shown live and exclusive on ABC 1 and ABC HD.

DPR Korea are due to arrive in Australia on March 1.