Young Matildas finally break their 11-year drought

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The Young Matildas have qualified for the AFC U/19 Women’s Championship final four for the first time since 2006 after beating Vietnam 5-2 on Sunday night (AEST) in China.

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The national team secured their spot in the semi-finals for the first time in 11 years, after two wins and a loss during their campaign in Nanjing saw them take out second place in Group-B.

The 5-2 win against Vietnam saw up and coming South Australian star Alex Chidiac grab a hat-trick, and Sydney’s Remy Siemsen and Rachel Lowe slot away the other two goals of the match.

Earlier in the week, the side beat South Korea 2-0, before losing to Japan 5-1, despite going into the second half with a 1-0 lead thanks to Siemsen.

The Young Matildas will now face Group-A winners North Korea in the semi-finals on Wednesday, October 25th, while Group-B winners Japan will face Group-A runners-up China.

North Korea is currently the reigning U/17 and U/20 Champions and therefore will be a tough match-up for Australia if they want to score a ticket to the U/20 Women’s World Cup in France next year.

With the likes of Chidiac, Siemsen, Lowe, Ellie Carpenter and other high-quality players under the guidance of coach Gary Van Egmond the team will hope to reach the same heights of their older counterparts in 2006.

The 2006 U/20 side that competed in the World Cup in Russia had a few familiar names that have made the Matilda’s senior side so successful over the years.

Goalkeeper Lydia Williams, defenders Clare Polkinghorne, Caitlin Cooper and Kim Carroll, striker Leena Khamis, and midfielders Sally Shipard and Collette McCallum were some of the most recognisable names of the 2006 squad.

Here’s hoping coach Van Egmond and the Young Matilda side can raise the bar once more for women’s football in 2017.

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