Matildas midfielder Emily van Egmond is determined to carry the momentum from the Australian team’s bright start to their Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualification campaign into their next assignment against Thailand on Monday night.
The Matildas stormed to the top of Group B on Friday night with an emphatic 7-0 win over Chinese Taipei in their opening match of the 2020 AFC Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament on Friday.
Next they tackle the 38th ranked Thailand at Campbelltown Stadium on Monday night (7:30pm AEDT), with another strong showing crucial to Ante Milicic’s side as they seek to secure one of two qualifying positions in Group B for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The Melbourne City playmaker played the opening 45 minutes of the game against Chinese Taipei as the Matildas all but wrapped up the tie prior to half-time with a 4-0 lead – thanks in large part to a 37 minute hat-trick from Caitlin Foord and three assists from van Egmond.
She said spirits are high in the squad as they prepare for Monday night’s clash with Thailand side that has lost both their matches to date and now out of the running for a place at Tokyo 2020.
“We pulled up really well. The girls woke up buzzing,” van Egmond revealed on Sunday.
“To score seven goals as well, I feel, is a really good step towards our Olympic qualifying campaign.”
While the Matildas’ exploits in front of goal – which saw Steph Catley, Hayley Raso, Sam Kerr and Katrina Gorry also get on the score sheet – dominated the highlights reel, van Egmond said the returns in the final third are the result of the application shown across the pitch.
“We definitely want to continue having that trait – being ruthless in front of goal – but another pleasing aspect of the game was that we kept a clean sheet,” she said.
“I think that is also a talking point and another main focus for us in this campaign is to obviously concede zero goals.”
To that end, van Egmond explained the entire squad has whole-heartedly embraced the structures and approach outlined by Milicic during the Matildas pre-tournament camp in Sydney.
“What I liked about the team performance from training was that we had a really good preparation leading up to these games and to see that the girls implemented what we had been training was fantastic.”
“Everyone kind of stuck to the game plan. The principles were there and the philosophy that Ante has brought in you can see it – it is clearly there.”
With her three assists in the win over Chinese Taipei, van Egmond also said she is just as rewarded by playing in her teammates as she is getting on the score sheet herself.
“From a personal note, creating some of the goals. I’m obviously quite happy,” she said.
She added: “As a player, you look to do what you can for the team and if anyone is in a better goal scoring opportunity or what-have-you you are just so happy for your teammate to be able to do it.”
As such, she suggested supporters can anticipate a similar approach from the team when they tackle Thailand.
“I think Thailand won’t be too dissimilar to Chinese Taipei. They might have one or two other areas we might need to look at and highlight, but apart from that we are focusing on ourselves and we want it to be another high scoring game for us,” she concluded.
Matchday 3 – Monday 10 February 2020
Campbelltown Stadium, Leumeah
- Chinese Taipei v China PR – 4.30pm AEDT
- Thailand v Australia – 7.30pm AEDT
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Broadcast: Live on FOX SPORTS, Kayo Sports, and the My Football Live App – delayed on ABC TV
International viewers: Live streamed via My Football YouTube channel
Matchday 4 – Thursday 13 February 2020
Western Sydney Stadium, Parramatta
- Australia v China PR – 7.30pm AEDT
Broadcast: Live on FOX SPORTS, Kayo Sports, and the My Football Live App – delayed on ABC TV.
International viewers - Live streamed via My Football YouTube channel