Matildas primed and ready for Women's World Cup

The Matildas head to China today, primed and ready to take on the very best women’s players in the world, at the fifth edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The Matildas head to China today, primed and ready to take on the very best women-s players in the world, at the fifth edition of the FIFA Women-s World Cup.

Both coach Tom Sermanni and captain Cheryl Salisbury are extremely confident that for the first time, Australia can make it past the group stages at the Women-s World Cup, that is being held in China from September 10-30.

Buoyed by two wins over the host nation several weeks ago, the second match that was played in front of over 50,000 fans, the Matildas have every reason to think they can match the feats of the Socceroos and get through to the next round and possibly beyond that.

“We have a team that is highly skilled; highly talented and can now hold its own against any team in the world,” said Sermanni.

“I think the main challenge coming up in this World Cup, is the fact we are playing against a North American, a European and African teams. Since we-ve gone into Asia, we-ve had a huge amount of experience against Asian teams, but it will be a little bit different, playing the style of team that we are going to play in the World Cup, but I think that is to our advantage.

“The plus- that we have playing against the Asian teams, is that they are highly skilled, technically very good, very fit and they have a good game sense, so I think that has helped improve us all round. I think our recent two games against China, where we up there and defeated them twice has given the players a great deal of confidence, going into the tournament,” Sermanni added.

Salisbury added, “I think that is what we have struggled with in the past, standing up in the big games and I think we have had more and more of those big games. Unfortunately we did lose to North Korea and they were two big games, but if anyone saw that game up in Coffs Harbour, we know how much fight this group of girls have in them.

“So I think when we go out in China, especially after what we did a few weeks ago up there, we know in ourselves and each other that we can really fight and it doesn-t matter who we are playing, they-re in for a hard fight if they want to beat us.

“I think these girls are ready to do it.”

The players received a special send-off to the World Cup, at a function in Sydney on Tuesday night in front of family, friends, former Matildas players and the media. Each player received a national team cap, with their representative number (determined by the date of their debut) on it and the details of their debut match for the Matildas.

Salisbury and midfielder Jo Peters, both also received special awards, for having made over 100 appearances for the Matildas. They each received a framed ball (which was a match ball from their 100th match) that was signed by their Matildas team mates that played in that game. Each of their 100 appearances was also engraved on the glass case.

Also receiving caps were Julie Dolan (No.1), who was captain of the first official international match against New Zealand in 1979; Moya Dodd (No.42), who was recently appointed to the FFA Board; Julie Murray (No.51), a former Matildas captain and now is a FIFA Committee Member; plus Sonia Gegenhuber (No.63), who is a member of the Matildas staff that is going to China.

The Matildas group matches start on September 12, with a match against Ghana in Hangzhou, followed by Norway on September 15, also in Hangzhou. The final group match is against Canada on September 19 in Chengdu.