FIFA: Matildas (Oz) Against Japan, 2015
I have a special place in my heart for Australia. I lived there for a year and then visited it twice – each time for 3-4 months. My wife, Trish, and I regularly get monthly tickets and we are trying to win a lottery house. Each visit brings us new friends. I will cheer for the Matildas against every country except Canada (where we live). That being said, I want to thank all the great talented women who have competed in FIFA 2015.
Reaching the Quarterfinals-2007
In 2007 the Australian women reached the quarterfinals of FIFA Women’s World Cup. They played Canada to a 2-2 draw to qualify for the quarterfinals. Once in the top eight teams, the Matildas played against the strong Brazilian team. They, however, scored two goals, but that was not enough against three goals scored against them. They departed with their heads held high.
Reaching the Quarterfinals 2015
Again, hard work and skills perfection has brought the Matildas to play Japan in the quarterfinals. Tom Sermanni, as coach, has been with them since they played Brazil back in 2007. Some Matildas were there with Tom; Lisa De Vanna was 22 years of age and is now co-captain alongside injured Clare Polkinghorne. The 2015 Matilda goalie, Lydia Williams, was also at the 2007 FIFA World Cup.
Learning Skills at the 2011 World Cup
New Matilda talent came to the front and made Australia proud:
0:4 Caitlin Foord, then 16 and now a regular, shone, keeping the legendary Brazilian star, Marta, quiet.
Playing too were Kyah Simon (20), Sam Kerr (17), Emily Van Egmond (17), Tameka Butt (20), Elise Kellond-Knight (20) and Servet Uzunlar (22), along with De Vanna, Polkinghorne and an experienced Melissa Barbieri.
These players now make up the core of the current squad
Japan Has a World-Class Team
To put it simply, Japan are the current holders of the Women’s World Cup and Asian Cup, beating Australia in the final. They are ranked four in the world and play a quick, technical brand of football that would trouble any defence.
Like so many of the teams at the World Cup this year – USA, Sweden, Germany etc. – Japan line up in a 4-4-2 formation, but it is executed unlike any other team at the tournament.
Japan pressed high up the pitch in their Round of 16 match, forcing errors out of their opponent’s backline, with Yuki Ogimi and Shinobu Ohnu leading from the front. Behind them, central midfielders Mizuho Sakaguchi and Rumi Utsugi followed suit, ensuring the Dutch couldn’t pass comfortably into the centre of the park.
But when the Japanese had possession of the ball, this was far from the “rudimentary 4-4-2” that Australia faced when playing the US in the group stage.
Two Great Teams: Only One Winner
There is a sense of revenge among the Matildas squad from their 2014 Asian Cup final defeat to Japan, which is coinciding with a genuine conviction that they can reach the semi-final where they will play either hosts Canada or England. The Matildas are cautious of their rival’s strength from set-pieces after conceding the only goal of the match from a routine corner in the 2014 final.
“They are extremely dangerous off set-pieces, the goal they got against us at the Asian Cup was off a set-piece, so we will be looking at that,” defender Stephanie Catley said.
“But they are just quality all over the field. We have got to look at the video carefully to make sure we have got everything.
Good luck to both teams. paula