Alen Stajcic: Thailand ideal Asian Cup preparation for Matildas

Alen Stajcic: Thailand ideal Asian Cup preparation for Matildas

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Matildas boss Alen Stajcic is pleased to have locked in a friendly against AFC rivals Thailand as preparation for the Asian Cup, to be held in April.

FFA announced the Matildas would visit Perth’s nib Stadium on 26 March for a friendly against the Thais, who have also qualified for the Asian Cup in Jordan.

That tournament, arguably the biggest the Matildas can compete in behind the World Cup, will begin on 6 April.

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Stajcic declared his team would enter the Asian Cup prepared and ready to go.

“Thailand secured qualification for this year’s AFC Women’s Asian Cup last April after topping their qualification group, and in the last 14 months have played 19 friendly or competitive matches,” he explained.

“There is a concerted effort going into developing Thai football domestically and internationally, so this will be a solid hit-out for our squad before we venture to Amman where we will be aiming to win the AFC Women’s Asian Cup for a second time.”

At the Asian Cup, the Matildas face the tough group of South Korea, Japan and Vietnam.

Melbourne, Geelong, Penrith and Newcastle have all hosted Matildas friendlies in the last six months, each enjoying a taste of the incredible momentum the team built in 2017.

FFA CEO David Gallop was hopeful Perth would embrace its chance to watch the Green and Gold.

“Now it’s Western Australia’s turn to see the Westfield Matildas in their backyard,” he said.

“We trust that the football and sporting communities of WA will turn out in record numbers to send the squad off to the Asian Cup in style.”

As well as the friendly announcement, Stajcic unveiled the 25-woman preliminary squad he would take to the 2018 Algarve Cup, beginning on 28 February.

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There, the Matildas will face Norway, Portugal and China.

“This camp will be a great opportunity for us to get together after an excellent season of the Westfield W-League to prepare for the upcoming Algarve and Asian Cups,” Stajcic said.

“After being apart for the last three months, this camp will give all the players an opportunity to refamiliarise themselves with our team culture, playing style, and most importantly commence the battle for selection into our squad for the upcoming major tournaments.

“With less than two weeks to go until we play Norway in Portugal, every moment together is precious and the team will take full advantage to ensure we hit the ground running on the 28th at Algarve.”

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