Qantas Matildas win opening Peace Cup game

Qantas Matildas coach Tom Sermanni was full of praise for his side after they scored a 1-0 win against the Netherlands in the opening match of the 2006 Peace Cup in Gimhae, South Korea. Sermanni described the performance as the best in his charge, since he took over in January 2005.

Qantas Matildas coach Tom Sermanni was full of praise for his side after they scored a 1-0 win against the Netherlands in the opening match of the 2006 Peace Cup in Gimhae, South Korea.

A goal mid-way through the second half from Sarah Walsh was all that separated the teams on the scoreboard, however it was a match that Australia completely dominated against the 18th ranked nation in the world.

The Qantas Matildas carved out numerous goalscoring opportunities while at the other end of the field Australian goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri was not forced into making a save of genuine note.

Australian coach Tom Sermanni rated the performance as ‘the best footballing performance- over the 26 matches since he took charge in January 2005.

“This was the best footballing performance that I have seen from this team in my time in charge,” he said. “Obviously it would been nicer to have secured a couple more goals given how many opportunities we created, however I-m very happy with the way things went particularly given it is our first outing in three months.”

“The challenge now for us will be to maintain that level against the USA on Tuesday.”

Captain Cheryl Salisbury came closest to scoring in the first half striking the crossbar with a free-kick on the half-hour while a few minutes later Sarah Walsh appeared likely to score after rounding the goalkeeper but struck the side netting with her angled shot. There were also chances for Caitlin Munoz who twice forced the goalkeeper into a save while Joanne Peters was inches away from opening the scoring with a low shot from the edge of the penalty area.

The deadlock was finally broken after a cross from Munoz on the left flank saw the ball laid off by Salisbury for Walsh who buried her first time shot from close-range.

Their were also opportunities for Peters and Joanne Burgess before the full time whistle without further addition to the scoreline.

The Australians will now face twice World Cup winners and number two ranked team USA in their next group match on Tuesday. The 15th ranked Australians will complete their group fixtures with a match against the 10th ranked Denmark on Thursday.

Australia are currently top of Group B of the tournament - the richest non-FIFA tournament in women-s football - after the USA and Denmark played out a 1-1 draw.

Match Details

Australia 1 (Sarah Walsh 67-) Netherlands 0

Australian line-up: Melissa Barbieri (gk); Rhian Davies, Kate McShea, Cheryl Salisbury (c), Heather Garriock; Alicia Ferguson, Collette McCallum (Danielle Small 78-), Lana Harch (Joanne Burgess 60-), Joanne Peters (Lauren Colthorpe 82); Caitlin Munoz (Kate Gill 76-), Sarah Walsh (Lisa De Vanna 76-)

Unused substitutes: Emma Wirkus (gk), Karla Reuter, Clare Polkinghorne, Kim Carroll

Cautions: Ferguson 23-, Munoz 68-

Referee: Cha Sung Mi (South Korea)

Official Crowd: 13,800

Australia's match schedule:

29 October v Netherlands in Gimhae - 1-0 31 October v USA in Cheonan (6pm AEDT) 2 November v Denmark in Suwon (7pm AEDT)

The two group winners will meet in the final: 4 November: Final in Seoul (3.30pm AEDT)

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

See the following link for further tournament information:

The Qantas Matildas have a busy year ahead with their 2008 Olympic qualifying campaign commencing in February next year having been drawn in Group C of the first stage of qualifying alongside Chinese Taipei, Myanmar and Uzbekistan. Should they finish top two in the group the team will progress to the final stage of qualifying and another four team group where DPR Korea await as a seeded team. The final stage of qualifying will be held between April and August with only the top team to progress to the 2008 Olympic Games.

Australia finished second in the AFC Women-s Asian Championship last July in Adelaide and qualified for the 2007 FIFA Women-s World Cup scheduled for September 10-30 in China.