Australia win but finish second in group

The Qantas Matildas have qualified for the semi finals of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup after a 5-0 victory over Thailand today in Adelaide but have been edged out of top spot in the group by DPR Korea (North Korea) on goal difference.

The Qantas Matildas have qualified for the semi finals of the AFC Women-s Asian Cup after a 5-0 victory over Thailand today in Adelaide but have been edged out of top spot in the group by DPR Korea (North Korea) on goal difference.

Australia will now meet Group A winners Japan in Thursday-s semi final where a berth at the 2007 FIFA Women-s World Cup will be on the line. The match will kick off at 4.30pm with the second semi final to be played between DPR Korea and China at 7.30pm. Japan are ranked 13th in the FIFA Women's World Rankings with Australia rated in 15th position.

DPR Korea-s 1-0 victory today over the Korean Republic saw them finish with a goal difference of 13 compared to Australia-s goal difference of 11 with both teams securing 10 points from the four group matches. The two teams battled out a scoreless draw last Saturday in addition to securing three wins apiece.

Aside from host-nation China, the two top teams in the AFC Women-s Asian Cup will qualify for the 2007 FIFA Women-s World Cup while the third-placed team will play-off against a representative from CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football). However should China finish in a top-three position, then the fourth-placed team will instead take part in the play-off.

Australia held a two goal advantage at the interval courtesy of goals to stand-in captain Alicia Ferguson plus striker Joanne Burgess. Ferguson scoring with a header from a pinpoint Heather Garriock corner just four minutes into her debut match as Australian captain in the absence of regular skipper Cheryl Salisbury and stand-in Joanne Peters.

Second half strikes to Sarah Walsh, Kate Gill and Lisa De Vanna meant the Australians ultimately fell three goals short of overhauling DPR Korea on goal difference. A 7-0 margin to Australia would have seen the teams equal on every count back criteria and resulted in the drawing of lots.

After Ferguson opened the scoring the Australians created numerous openings particularly through the pace of flankers Walsh and De Vanna. However it was De Vanna who laid on the second goal providing a pass for Joanne Burgess to skip away from a flat defensive line and easily slot past the Thai goalkeeper.

There were further goalscoring opportunities for De Vanna, Ferguson, Kylie Ledbrook and Garriock, before Walsh put the match out of the visitors reach in the 54th minute with a near-post strike from an acute angle.

Nine minutes later Australia were four goals to the good and threatening to over-run Thailand. Substitute Gill, who had only been on for five minutes, finished off from close-range after Collette McCallum got in behind the defence and squared the ball from the left flank.

Despite numerous forays into the opposition penalty area there was only one more goal with De Vanna finishing off the scoring eight minutes from time with a well-deserved goal.

“I am certainly not disappointed with the effort and way we played though I was disappointed with the lack of care and the lack of quality in the finishing," said Qantas Matildas coach Tom Sermanni.

“On the positive side we haven-t conceded any goals and we haven-t lost any games. We are going into the semi finals with a fit and healthy squad and a team that is playing well.”

Just three players backed up from Saturday-s tough encounter against DPR Korea with only goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri, defender Heather Garriock and striker Sarah Walsh making a second starting appearance in three days.

Sermanni said he was mostly satisfied with the workload spread around the squad given the team have been required to play four matches in nine days.

“Because we have had some good results, we have been able to rotate the squad and give players opportunity; give players game time and also the chance to claim a spot in the team. At the same time we have been able to rest players, so when we go into the match on Thursday the players shouldn-t be suffering from fatigue given we have been able to rotate the squad quite successfully.”

Match Details

AUSTRALIA 5 (Alicia Ferguson 4-, Joanne Burgess 28-, Sarah Walsh 54-, Kate Gill 63-, Lisa De Vanna 82-)


Australian line-up: Melissa Barbieri (gk); Rhian Davies, Thea Slatyer, Karla Reuter, Heather Garriock (Collette McCallum 60-); Leah Blayney, Alicia Ferguson (c), Kylie Ledbrook; Joanne Burgess (Caitlin Munoz 74-), Sarah Walsh (Kate Gill 58-), Lisa De Vanna

Cautions: Garriock 34-

Referee: Eun Ah Hong (Korea Republic)

Attendance: 400

Semi Finals - Thursday 27 July Australia v Japan - Hindmarsh Stadium @ 16:30 DPR Korea v China - Hindmarsh Stadium @ 19:30

Final Standings - Group B (Goals for-against)

DPR Korea 10 pts (13-0) Australia 10 pts (11-0) Korea Republic 6 (14-6) Thailand 3 points (2-26) Myanmar 0 (2-10)

Semi Final Tickets:

Adults - $15.00 16 and under - $7.50 Family (Two adults and two children) - $20.00

Tickets available at the gate or from VenueTix

Further Qantas Matildas information including player profiles is available at the following link:- Matildas Player Profiles

Further tournament information is available at the AFC tournament website:-