Polkinghorne: Westfield Matildas focused on Asian Cup glory

Clare Polkinghorne says the Westfield Matildas are determined to qualify for next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup by winning next month’s Asian Cup in Jordan.

Alen Stajcic’s side are heading to the Asian Cup as one of the pre-tournament favourites after enjoying some incredible success over the last 12 months.

Australia needs a top-five finish at the tournament to book their spot at next year’s World Cup, to be held in France.

READ: Stajcic urges Perth to get behind Westfield Matildas

But after losing the Asian Cup final to Japan four years ago, Polkinghorne says redemption is at the forefront of the player’s minds when they get to Jordan.

“We’re going to the Asian Cup to win. Part of that is qualifying for the World Cup which is another main focus for us,” Polkinghorne said.

“It’s the pinnacle of the sport, that’s out main aim to get to the World Cup and if we win the Asian Cup then we’re guaranteed a spot at the World Cup.

“We experienced what it feels like in 2010 to win an Asian Cup. We lost the final four years ago to Japan so we’re definitely going there to win.

“We’re just going to take it one game at a time and if we play our best football there’s no reason we can’t.”

The Westfield Matildas will have one final hit-out before they head to the Asian Cup when they take on Thailand in Perth on Monday.

While having to settle for a fourth-place finish at the recent Algarve Cup, Polkinghorne believes the team got a lot out of the experience, declaring the depth in the squad is a strong as it’s ever been.

READ: The Westfield Matildas heading to their first Asian Cup

One player who is almost certain to start against Thailand at nib Stadium is Sam Kerr, who gets the opportunity to play an international match in her hometown for the very first time.

“She’s such an exciting player and she’s been training really hard,” Polkinghorne said of Kerr.

“It’s not a fluke she’s successful come game day. She works extremely hard and that’s how she trains every day.

“She’s a massive part of our team and I’m glad she’s on our side.

Sam Kerr
Sam Kerr

“They [Thailand] are a team that’s really improved over the last few years. They are a solid defensive team and will be hard to break down,” Polkinghorne added.

“It will be a good test for us to put our structures in place and hopefully create some chances to score.”