April 2 (Reuters) – The Australian girls’ soccer group will get an early indication in their World Cup prospects once they face defending champions the USA in a friendly in Denver on Thursday.
The Matildas, below new boss Ante Milicic, made short work of New Zealand, South Korea, and Argentina to win the inaugural Cup of Nations on home soil final month, however, will be keen to peer how they stack up in opposition to the top-ranked side within the global.
“It’s a reasonably daunting assignment to be involved to your first camp and be playing the primary ranked group in the world, but we’re playing with an excellent organization of players,” rookie defender Liz Ralston stated.
“There’s a genuinely big emphasis on every drill, each consultation, making sure you’re making the maximum of it.”
Ranked sixth in the international and boasting one of the world’s top strikers in captain Sam Kerr, the Matildas have a miles higher danger of winning the World Cup than Australian guys’ group, who’s ranked forty seconds and were removed inside the institution segment at the worldwide showpiece in Russia the last yr.
The Matildas reached the quarter-finals at the 2015 match in Canada, their excellent result, and feature simplest grown in self-assurance due to the fact.
However, their arrangements for the June 7-July 7 World Cup in France were thrown into chaos with the abrupt sacking of lengthy-serving instruct Alen Stajcic in January.
Stajcic was brushed off for what the governing Football Federation Australia stated turned into a “negative subculture” around the group, as opposed to for failing to provide results.
Milicic, appointed as a caretaker to steer the crew thru the World Cup, has proved a popular replacement and back calm to a squad that changed into distracted with the aid of reviews of dressing room disharmony.
Milicic is keen to give fringe gamers a hazard to polish at their camp in Colorado and has made five modifications to his Cup of Nations squad, along with the uncapped duo of UCLA goalkeeper Teagan Micah and Sydney FC defender Ralston.
Experienced midfielder Katrina Gorry and Washington Spirit attacker Chloe Logarzo return after injuries, with sixteen-12 months-vintage striker Mary Fowler lured back after snubbing an international call-up with the aid of Stajcic remaining year.
While more than half the squad play for U.S. Groups, a large Australia-based contingent have needed to get used to the freezing cold in Colorado quickly after traveling from balmy situations returned domestic.
“(It’s) something we’re not used to, we’re not used to the relaxing and it’s a one-of-a-kind climate and a specific atmosphere right here however it’s been great,” said Melbourne-based ahead Emily Gielnik.
Following the friendly towards Jill Ellis-coached United States, Australia switch to hotter climes in Turkey for a pre-World Cup camp earlier than heading to France wherein they meet Italy, Brazil, and Jamaica in Group C.