Kyah Simon has played down the impact that predicted hot temperatures will have on the Westfield Matildas’ World Cup quarter-final clash with Japan in Edmonton.
Sunday’s clash (6am AEST) is forecast to reach 31°C at Commonwealth Stadium, with the heat at ground level set to swell closer to 50°C due to the synthetic surface.
Simon – who turned 24 on Thursday – admitted the conditions would be testing but suggested the experience of playing in Australia could prove crucial for Alen Stajcic’s side.
“Obviously both teams are in the same conditions, so no matter what we feel the Japanese are going to be feeling the exact same,” Simon told reporters in Edmonton.
“For us thankfully in our domestic league we play in the Australian summer so we’ve played in conditions over 40 degrees before and we are familiar with it.
“We’re used to playing in those hot conditions. It’s going to be tough either way but it’s up to us to control what we can control.
“We’ll have to make sure we’re at top hydration levels and we go into the game keeping ourselves as best physically prepared as we can.”
World Champions Japan have been in ominous form in Canada, winning all three of their group matches before disposing of the Netherlands in the round of 16.
The Matildas suffered a narrow 1-0 loss to the Japanese in last year’s Asian Cup final and Simon pinpointed the Matildas’ discipline as the key to causing an upset on Sunday.
“We obviously play a lot in Asia and play against a lot of Asian opponents and we’ve faced Japan on several occasions," she said.
“They’re a quality side, they’re probably in my books the strongest Asian country there is, technically gifted and they’re a strong possession based team.
“We’re going to have to defend like we defend but when we get the ball it becomes even more important to hold it.
“I think for us it’s crucial we hold that defensive structure strong but in transition I think we can catch teams out with the firepower we’ve got up front.”
Simon came off the bench to net the winner in Monday’s win over Brazil but said she was content to play to any role coach Alen Stajcic deploys her in.
“As much as I want to be a starter in the eleven, I might have a different role like I did in the last game against Brazil,” she said.
“I’m not too sure but at the end of the day it’s the coach’s decision.
“Obviously I’d love to start but if the team needs me to come off the bench then that’s what I’ll do.”