Sermanni confident of lessons learned

Australian coach Tom Sermanni believes his team’s ability to overcome its ordinary second half performance against Canada, will benefit them for the quarter final clash with Brazil at the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Australian coach Tom Sermanni believes his team-s ability to overcome its ordinary second half performance against Canada, will benefit them in the quarter final clash with Brazil at the FIFA Women-s World Cup.

Having equalized in the 53rd minute and then almost taken the lead minutes later, the Matildas suddenly went away from its game plan and let Canada retake the momentum and when the Canucks scored with seven minutes to go and looked to have the game won.

However the Matildas again lifted and struck the crucial equaliser from captain Cheryl Salisbury in injury time that earned Australia a quarter final match against Brazil on Sunday night.

“When they scored to be honest, I thought we are struggling here,” Sermanni said prior to training today. “Not because I didn-t think we could come back, but because I thought we had lost a bit of momentum.

“But this team is unbelievable; they just picked up again and went straight at them and I think overall we definitely deserved a draw at the game.

“I think the fact that we got through that will help us and I think the players go into this game in a different frame of mind.

While Brazil will go into the match as clear favourites having won their three group games, Sermanni believes they are beatable. He also knows which player is the main danger, with Women-s World Player of the Year Marta in good form.

“They-re a good side, but I don-t think they-re an unbeatable side,” he said confidently. “I think our pace up front can cause them some problems; I think if we can keep real discipline at the back and try and nullify, particularly Marta, then I think we take a lot of potency away from them.

“If we just sit back and allow them to play, then I think they will cause us some problems.

“She (Marta) is a good player; a dynamic player. She is not a ninety minute player; she is one of those players who will drift out of the game, but it-s like the lull before the storm, because if you become a little bit relaxed or complacent, suddenly she is there and the ball is in the back of the net.

“If you let here turn and run at you and dive in at her, she is a pretty explosive player. When she does get the ball, there is somebody there to close her down, whoever that player may be.

Just what team Sermanni puts out against Brazil could well take until game day to decide, with the short turnaround between matches making it difficult for recovery. He has several players carrying knocks, although nothing too serious that rules them out at this early stage.

“We obviously got Thea (Slatyer), who missed the last game after getting injured in the warm-up, so there is a question about her. Melissa Barbieri has a slight knock on her ankle. There is also a question mark over Chez (Salisbury), especially when you do such a quick turnover after a difficult game.”

“We will go to training today and there will probably be about eight players that don-t do anything at all. Our recovery people are working flat out, just trying to keep people fit and healthy and get the legs moving again.

Sermanni though said it won-t be just about who is fit and a lot will also depend on the combinations he will need for the match.

“We will be sticking to what we think is our strongest side in principle, but its also looking to think whose fresh and who is a bit leggy.

“We-ll go to training today and its our judgement in assessing players who might be a little more tired; the players you think are getting a second wind if you like or players that you feel have a little bit of spark about them.

“But it-s also a balance of also looking at the opposition and saying ‘if we play this combination here that will be better in this game-. So it-s not just one factor.”

Sermanni also believes the pressure will be off his side, as opposed to the other night against Canada.

“To be honest, I think we go into this game with less pressure than we did in the Canada game. We have expectations of ourselves, but in general at the tournament, the other teams don-t have expectations (of Australia).

“Hopefully Brazil underestimate us and are just going to turn up and think that-s enough to win the game.”

The Matildas quarter final showdown agaisnt Brazil at the FIFA Women's World Cup in Tianjin, China, will be broadcast live on SBS from 9.50pm (AEST).