Polkinghorne: Westfield Matildas want to be even better in 2018

Building on the wave of momentum from an incredible 2017 will be the driving for the Westfield Matildas at the Algarve Cup, according to defender Clare Polkinghorne.

Australia heads to the tournament in Portugal as one of the favourites after an astonishing string of results over the last 12 months.

Alen Stajcic’s side have created history, wowed crowds in Australia and captured the imagination of the entire country for the exploits.

Not only did the team win the Tournament of Nations in the US last year, they also defeated both Brazil and China in home friendly series late in 2017.

Now preparing for the Algarve Cup, Polkinghorne says there’ll be no slowing down from the hungry Westfield Matildas.

“It’s important that we do build on it and as t was a pretty good year for us last year,” Polkinghorne told https://matildas.footballaustralia.com.au.

“But it’s important that we don’t settle for that and we keep striving to be better. I know we won’t rest on our laurels, cause we have a lot that we want to work on as a group.

“So the upcoming games in the Algarve Cup will give us a good indication of where we’re at and what we need to do leading into the Asian Cup.”

The Westfield Matildas celebrate a goal during their history-making run in 2017.

On the back of Australia’s dominant performances last year, the team is at an all-time high number four in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings.

They are the highest ranked nation at the Algarve Cup and will take on Norway (ranked 14th), China (16th) and host-nation Portugal (38th).

While the team is hell-bent on improving on last year’s fourth-placing in Portugal, getting things right for April’s AFC Women’s Asian Cup is also high on the priority list.

“The main thing we’re looking at is the Asian Cup. Our main goal is to win the Asian Cup and qualify for the next World Cup,” Polkinghorne declared.

“Everything that we do now is in preparation for that, so this should give us a good indication of where our game’s at and little areas we’ll need to improve in.”

The 29-year-old defender is also excited about the prospect of Australia possibly hosting the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup after the government recently announced they would put some funds towards the bid.

Asked what it meant to the squad to know the federal government is behind the Westfield Matildas, Polkinghorne said: It’s incredibly important, not just for females but for the men’s side of the game as well.

“To be able to host a World Cup, male or female, would be absolutely incredible, and it’s really exciting that we’ve got the support behind us that’s stemmed from the success we’ve been having lately.

“We’ve had increased support from the public, and to have the backing of the government is really good as well.”

Clare Polkinghorne