Gielnik embracing one door closing and another opening

While the June squad for the CommBank Matildas has a host of fresh faces, there are also a number of veteran players looking to the encounters with Spain and Portugal. 

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CommBank Matildas forward Emily Gielnik is one such player relishing the opportunity and challenge ahead.

“I see this as a big opportunity not only for me, but for those players coming in,” Gielnik said. “One door shuts and other one opens, and I'm just using this as another opportunity to represent the green and gold.

“For me, it's more possible that I will be getting some game time so I'll relish in that opportunity. I'm just really looking forward to getting out there, to be honest, and it's very, very different circumstances. I feel good about this one," she continued.


A decade ago this month it was Gielnik who was one of the fresh faces in the camp when she made her debut for Australia against Japan.  Now a veteran of World Cups, Asian Cups and Olympic Games, Gielnik is embracing the switch up for this camp.  

"They're all great girls.  They're young and willing to learn.  It's a very positive, energetic, happy vibe here at the moment, so there's nothing to complain about," she said of the new cohorts.

“It's different just conversing with some different people probably 10 years younger than me [but] it's been a nice change up and I think there's a lot of positives to take from it.” 

With Saturday’s encounter fast approaching, the team ramped up preparations in the Iberian sun with ball work, conditioning and a heavy tactical session. 

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It is all with the knowledge of the Spanish puzzle to be solved on the weekend.  Gielnik acknowledged the quality of the emerging European powerhouse but also spoke of Australia’s own attributes and assets. 

“I think the world is very aware of what Spain is capable of.  They are hands down one of the best in the world right now and obviously preparing for one of the biggest tournaments of their life [the Euros]," she said.

“We've got to really look at our strengths and stop focusing on theirs and just try and take advantage of their weaknesses. We'll try and pick that apart throughout the week and get some tactical training done in the next few days.  I am sure we will have a good plan. 


“Obviously with a lot of those [Australia’s] big players missing, it's going to be quite challenging getting everyone up to the pace with how we play," she continued.

“I back our midfielders; they are technical and they are talented. I think we have that winning mentality and although Spain plays some beautiful football, I think parts of our game are beautiful as well.

“We're winners at heart and we want to win.  But for us, it's performance-based where we're looking at this as a brick-by-brick situation. The big picture for us is the World Cup.”

UPCOMING COMMBANK MATILDAS FIXTURES:  

Spain v Australia  
Date: Saturday, 25 June (local) / Sunday, 26 June (AUS)  
Time: 9.30pm (local) / 5.30am (AEST)  
Venue: Estadio Nuevo Colombino, Huelva  
Broadcast: Network 10, 10 Play and Paramount+  
  
Portugal v Australia  
Date: Tuesday, 28 June (local) / Wednesday, 29 June (AUS)  
Time: 9.00pm (local) / 6.00am (AEST)  
Venue: Estádio António Coimbra da Mota, Estoril  
Broadcast: Network 10, 10 Play and Paramount+