Matildas AFC Asian Cup 2022 Preview

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The Matilda’s have gathered their best as they prepare to bring home the silverware for the first time since 2010.

Australia find themselves in Group B where they’ll face Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand in the 2022 AFC Asian Cup.

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Past Asian Cup performances

Since first lifting the cup in their fifth campaign appearance in 2010, Australia has missed out on silverware for the past two tournaments. The Matilda’s were undefeated in the group stages and progressed through to final each time only to come out second best to rivals Japan.

Road to India

Australia automatically qualified to play in India as they placed within the top three in the 2018 tournament, along with reigning champions Japan and third placed China.

They’ll win the tournament because…

After a colourful Olympics, the Matilda’s became the pride of the nation after their best ever Olympics, finishing in fourth place. In close competition with Team USA, Great Britain and Sweden on top of the infamous defeat against Brasil, they’ve proved that they’ve got what it takes as they made their mark against the most prestigious names in international football.

To further improve on their Olympics performance, Tony Gustavsson has bought in Jens Fjellström to cover everything analytics. Jens’ analysis is something they’ve newly introduced and could become the final piece needed to tie together another cup win.

They won’t win the tournament because…

There is a concern around lack of depth in midfield. With only four names listed to play in a midfield role, flexibility will more than likely be required. While Aivi Luik was listed as a defender in the Matildas squad announcement, it’s likely we will see her playing in her more familiar defensive midfield position. Another possibility is Hayley Raso in midfield, she has dropped there before and with the inclusion of Cortnee Vine, Raso may flatten the concerns around the midfield’s depth.

Key players

Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord – This dynamic duo work incredibly well together. Their experience as well individual success is immense and we can look forward to the newly introduced players potentially unlocking Kerr even further which will create more opportunities in the front third.

Hayley Raso – The in-form winger isn’t someone to shy away from a challenge and her persistence on the ball has gotten her results. Raso’s pace on the wing proves to play a key role in transitions and the goals that come with it are an added bonus. Raso was a part of the squad that went down to Japan in the previous two cups and what is it they say? Third time’s a charm, or something like that.

Ellie Carpenter – A player who thrives under pressure and has the ability and stamina to play in essentially any defensive position. With the structure of a back four defensive line, it’ll allow Carpenter to shine as she’ll have the opportunity to play forward which is where the Matildas can open up and capitalise by pushing the play along seamlessly.

One to watch

Mary Fowler. The rising star who has been dubbed as ‘the future Sam Kerr’, Fowler made her Matilda’s debut during against Brazil at 15-years-old. Since then, the now 18-year-old has 16 caps for her national side. Fowler plays for French side Montpellier HSC and it’s a common theme to see her name on scoresheets and in the headlines.

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Fowler’s game becomes more recognised with each fixture and she excels by being tactically excellent on the ball. In previous Matildas appearances, we’ve seen her take on more of a midfielder role rather than her natural position as a striker. For Gustavsson to make the most of Fowler’s capabilities, he’ll need to figure out where best she belongs and the results will follow. 

Coach

Following the Matildas’ most successful Olympic campaign to date, Tony Gustavsson will lead his hand-picked squad into the Asian Cup. Gustavsson welcomed a few new faces and bought Aivi Luik back out of retirement for his first Asian Cup tournament.

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Full Squad List

Goalkeepers: Mackenzie Arnold, Lydia Williams, Tegan Micah.

Defenders: Ellie Carpenter, Steph Catley, Charlotte Grant, Alana Kennedy, Aivi Luik, Courtney Nevin, Clare Polkinghorne.

Midfielders: Kyra Cooney-Cross, Emily van Egmond, Clare Wheeler, Tameka Yallop.

Forwards: Caitlin Foord, Mary Fowler, Emily Gielnik, Sam Kerr, Holly McNamara, Hayley Raso, Remy Siemsen, Kyah Simon, Cortnee Vine.

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Ash Ramos
Ash Ramos
Journalism student at Curtin University covering Perth Glory for the 2021/22 A-leagues season. Siuuu

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