Sermanni rates win as most satisfying

Qantas Matildas coach Tom Sermanni has labelled yesterday’s win over Japan in the semi-final of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, as the most significant and satisfying of his coaching career.

Qantas Matildas coach Tom Sermanni has labelled yesterday-s win over Japan in the semi-final of the AFC Women-s Asian Cup, as the most significant and satisfying of his coaching career.

The win, not only lifted Australia into the final of the tournament, but more significantly gave them an automatic spot in next years Women-s World Cup to be played in China.

“It-s probably been the most significant win that I have been involved in as a coach and its probably the proudest I have ever felt of a team that I have coached,” Sermanni said from Adelaide today. “The way the whole team has been about this tournament, culminating in the result last night, it was the most satisfying football night and result that I have had as a coach.”

While the team spent a relaxing recovery session in the pool, Sermanni was trying to come down from the clouds after the 2-0 win.

“I think it-s a feeling of fatigue, relief and I think delight at what we-ve achieved,” he said reflecting on the win. “From a personal point of view, there is a great deal of pride for the players, because I think it was enormous achievement and a fantastic performance last night.

“We had a fairly boisterous celebration in the dressing room after the game as you could imagine. The players were just absolutely ecstatic, but by the time we got back to the hotel, I think everybody was just too tired to party.

“They didn-t need too much subduing.

Sermanni has no doubts what was the critical moment of last night-s match that earned Australia victory, but he also had praise for his defence which has yet to concede a goal in the tournament.

“I think the critical point of the game was the second goal right on half time, which meant the Japanese had to really come out and throw caution to the wind and really chase the game in the second half.

“Defence is the foundation of the team. I think we have only conceded 2 goals in our last 14 ‘A- Internationals.

“I think it-s a pride thing as well, where we are now on this run and that we don-t give up goals. It-s a bit like habits, when you get into a winning habit you tend to win games that are tight; you get into habits of not conceding goals; you tend to do things that make it difficult for the opposition to score goals and even when you are really getting stretched, somebody manages to get a leg in the way, a head in the way, or part of their body in the way to save things and we-ve been doing that consistently for several games now.”

In what is a fairly strange situation, going into a major tournament, Sermanni now feels the pressure is off a little going into the final.

“We-ve achieved our main objective, which was to was to get to the World Cup finals.

“We are not going into the final with the pressure of having to win the final, but we are certainly going in there now in the frame of mind that we are on a run here and we don-t want to give up anything easily.

“It-s a major tournament, it-s the first major final that I think the Matildas have ever been in and we want to actually win the tournament. We-re here now, we are in the final and we certainly don-t want to go in there, just saying ‘this game doesn-t matter a great deal-, because it matters a great deal.”