Relaxed Matildas primed for Japan clash

Defender Steph Catley says the Matildas have been taking full advantage of their extra rest days ahead of their World Cup quarter-final against Japan.

Alen Stajcic’s outfit overcame Brazil in Monday’s round of 16 encounter but were forced to wait 48 hours to learn their opponents for Sunday’s (AEST) last eight clash.  

Catley was confident the extra recovery time would ensure the Matildas were in optimal condition come kick off, with searing temperatures predicted in Edmonton.

Conditions no concern for red-hot Matildas

 “We’ve obviously had a longer preparation for this one so we’ve been able to recover a lot better than usual which has been really, really nice,” Catley told reporters on Friday.

“We’ve been able to get a few training sessions in and a few recovery sessions.

“We’re still going over some footage and looking at Japan nice and closely but we’re feeling pretty good.”

Steph Catley celebrates a goal with her Matildas teammates.

The Matildas have played four difficult games on their way to the quarter finals and will again be under the pump against the reigning world champions. 

But a relaxed Catley suggested the tough campaign has steeled the Matildas for the do-or-die encounter.

Preview: Matildas v Japan

“I’m feeling really fit considering we’ve come out of so many dog fights,” she said.

“We’ve had massive games in every single contest. Everyone’s bodies are feeling really good and touch wood we’ve been really lucky with injuries.

“I think coming out of the “Group of Death” and facing some of the best teams in the world prepared us straight away for the games after that.”

The Matildas starting XI for their clash with Brazil.

Japan have been in ominous form in Canada, winning all three of their group matches before easing past the Netherlands in the round of 16.

Catley acknowledged the difficult task that faces the Matildas in Edmonton but revealed the Aussies are more than familiar with their Asian counterparts. 

“They’re definitely different from the teams we’ve played against over here but we’ve played against Japan a whole lot, in the Asian Cup and even before that,” she said.

“We know how they play and we know how to match up against them so we just need to adjust our game plan a little bit and be really switched on.” 

Matildas in article banner.