Matildas to play in NZ tri series

The Westfield Matildas will play matches against the Football Ferns and DPR Korea as part of an international tri series to be held in Auckland next month.

The Westfield Matildas’ participation in the tri series against the 18th ranked Football Ferns and DPR Korea, who currently occupy 7th in the world rankings, comes as the squad builds towards the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015, which kicks off in June.

In addition, the Westfield Matildas have confirmed they will once again compete at the Cyprus Cup, where they have been drawn in Group A along with England, Finland and The Netherlands, which will be held in Cyprus from 2-15 March.

The matches against DPR Korea on 10 February and Football Ferns on 12 February will be the Westfield Matildas’ first since the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2014 Final against Japan back in May last year, and also the first internationals since Stajcic was announced as full time coach.

“We had a really good training camp in Canberra last week and this tri series will give us an opportunity to put into practise things that we have worked on and the way we want to play come the World Cup,” Stajcic said.

“We haven’t been together for eight months so our expectations heading to New Zealand are realistic, and they are to try and build on the foundations we’ve set in the camps and we know it’s going to be a huge challenge coming up against one of the best teams in the world in our first game.”

“To get two matches against quality opposition will give us an indication of how we’re progressing, while they will also be beneficial leading up to the Cyprus Cup in March against some excellent European countries.”

“There is still a lot of hard work to be done before we get to Canada so we have to ensure we make the most of opportunity we have to test ourselves and improve.”

With all arrows pointing to Canada in June, Stajcic and the Westfield Matildas’ preparations began with a training camp at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra last week.

The Westfield Matildas will renew their trans Tasman rivalry with the Football Ferns after they last met back in June 2013 where the Australians recorded a 1-0 win and 1-1 draw, while the Westfield Matildas’ last encounter against DPR Korea was a 1-0 loss back in 2011 in an Olympic qualifier.

Ahead of next month’s tri series in Auckland, a 31-player squad has congregated at AIS headquarters in Canberra today for a training camp that runs until Friday 23 January 2015.

Of the players invited to the camp by Stajcic, 19 of them were part of the squad that competed in last year’s AFC Women’s Asian Cup in Vietnam.

The squad for the training camp is as follows:

Aivi Luik, Alanna Kennedy, Alex Chidiac, Amy Harrison, Ashleigh Sykes, Brianna Davey (gk), Caitlin Foord, Casey Dumont (gk), Clare Polkinghorne, Danielle Brogan, Elise Kellond-Knight, Ellie Brush, Emily van Egmond, Emma Checker, Hayley Crawford, Hayley Raso, Kate Gill, Katrina Gorry, Kim Carroll, Kyah Simon, Larissa Crummer, Lisa De Vanna, Marianna Tabain, Melissa Barbieri (gk), Michelle Heyman, Nicola Bolger, Nicole Begg, Servet Uzunlar, Stephanie Catley, Teigen Allen, Teresa Polias

Women’s International Tri Series
8-12 February 2015
Bill McKinlay Park, Auckland

Football Ferns v Korea DPR
Sunday 8 February (Kick-Off 7.30pm local)

Korea DPR v Westfield Matildas
Tuesday 10 February (Kick-Off 3.30pm local)

Football Ferns v Westfield Matildas
Thursday 12 February 9Kick-Off 7pm local)

Please note: The tri series is unable to be broadcast via television or streamed due to technical reasons.