Con­trol is needed

MATIL­DAS FOOT­BALL COACH SEEKS DOM­I­NANCE AGAINST VIS­I­TORS CHILE

Shepparton News - - SPORT -

The Matil­das’ main aim will be to re­gain their dom­i­nance when they host World Cup qual­i­fiers Chile in the first of two in­ter­na­tion­als start­ing to­day.

Coach Alen Sta­j­cic said in re­cent games Aus­tralia had not shown the level of con­trol which char­ac­terised their per­for­mances in the past three to four years.

In the past two matches, world No. 6 Aus­tralia lost 2-0 to France and drew 1-1 with Eng­land, who are ranked fourth and third re­spec­tively.

‘‘We’ve tended to dom­i­nate al­most ev­ery game in the last 18, 24 months and the last two or three we haven’t, so we want to get back to the level where we know we dom­i­nate the matches the re­sult well and truly goes in our favour,’’ Sta­j­cic said.

‘‘That means be­ing able to keep the ball bet­ter, im­prov­ing our pass­ing, im­prov­ing our sup­port play.

‘‘I thought we were pretty poor in some of those areas against France and Eng­land, we didn’t have the rhythm and the flu­ency that we’ve had over the past pe­riod of time and I think this will be a great op­por­tu­nity for us.’’

Sta­j­cic re­vealed mid­fielder Amy Sayer, 16, had been di­ag­nosed with a stress frac­ture in her foot and would need a boot for the next three to four weeks.

While Chile is ranked 39th, Sta­j­cic de­scribed the side as tech­ni­cally su­perb.

Chile re­cently lost 3-0 and 4-0 to world No. 1 the United States.

‘‘Of those three goals in the first game, two of them were cor­ners, Amer­ica only scored one goal in open play, it was a tight game,’’ Sta­j­cic said.

‘‘We’re not un­der­es­ti­mat­ing them (Chile) we know how good they are.

‘‘Their is­sue is hav­ing to travel to Aus­tralia and over­come jet lag, which is some­thing our play­ers have had to do all the time, so it’s go­ing to be a tough chal­lenge for them as well.’’

Sta­j­cic was not stress­ing over pro­tect­ing Aus­tralia’s world rank­ing, which af­fects seed­ings for next year’s World Cup and im­pact on the draw for the tour­na­ment in France.

‘‘Last time Amer­ica were the seeded team in our group and they ended up get­ting the group of death as well, get­ting Aus­tralia, Swe­den and Nige­ria, so it doesn’t re­ally guar­an­tee any­thing,’’ Sta­j­cic said.

Both to­day’s match at Pan­thers Sta­dium in west­ern Syd­ney and Tues­day’s at New­cas­tle’s McDon­ald Jones Sta­dium are ex­pected to draw about 15 000 spec­ta­tors.

Pic­ture: AAP/Joel Car­rett

Ready to play: Matil­das play­ers (from left) Lisa De Vanna, Chloe Log­a­rzo, Alanna Kennedy and Caitlin Fo­ord are ready for two in­ter­na­tional matches start­ing to­day.

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