Milicic pleased with chance creation as Westfield Matildas set sights on February
Ante Milicic says he was pleased with how many chances the Westfield Matildas created across their two international friendly victories against Chile and believes his side will have well and truly hit their stride come January’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualifiers.
Australia edged Chile 1-0 on Tuesday night thanks to Emily Gielnik’s strike in a match Milicic felt his side should have won by a bigger margin.
The Westfield Matildas unleashed 18 shots on goal against the defensively robust South Americans – including 12 from inside the box. In Saturday’s 2-1 triumph over Chile at Bankwest Stadium, Australia produced a total of 17 shots, with 14 of those coming inside the box.
Milicic said he was pleased not only with the quantity of chances his charges produced over 180 minutes against Chile, but also the wide range in which they were created.
“If you look at all the key indicators that we do as a team, we dominated clearly. I feel we should’ve won the game by a bigger margin,” he said.
“We needed to apply a lot more scoreboard pressure at the time when we did dominate.”
Although he admitted the Westfield Matildas could have been more ruthless in the final third, Milicic said he was happy with the performance of his side given the varying level of recent match minutes played by his squad.
He is confident that, as players return to peak condition with their overseas and Westfield W-League clubs, Australia’s decision making, sharpness and composure will be top-notch in time for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualifying, which begins in February next year.
“January will be a different scenario for us,” he said.
“If you compare now to when we get together again in January, the amount of games and match minutes they get puts them automatically in better shape and better condition than what they were today.
“Preparation has already begun.”
Milicic also issued his support toward the city of Adelaide after a 10,324-strong attendance at Coopers Stadium set a new record for a women’s international in the City of Churches.
The Westfield Matildas drew a crowd of 5168 for their previous visit to the South Australian capital against China 13 years ago.
It was, as the Australia boss said, another glowing mark in the nation’s bid to host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
South Australia became the third state after NSW and Queensland to get behind Australia’s quest to host the showpiece international tournament in 2023.
“The girls understand how important it is to host a World Cup. We have so much positive things associated with football to offer the world. And we can,” said Milicic.
“It's very important that the whole country is behind the bid. What we can offer the world and FIFA I’m sure we'd host an excellent World Cup and we have to do everything possible to give ourselves a chance to create history.
“This [Adelaide] has always been a fantastic place. You look at the crowd on a cold Tuesday night. It is a real footballing stadium. Adelaide has always been a football town and it was great to see.”