Kyah Simon has lauded the Westfield Matildas patient resolve after overcoming early Thai resistance to ultimately steamroll their opponents by six goals on Monday night.
Simon struck twice for Ante Milicic’s side in the comprehensive win to complement a hat-trick from Emily van Egmond and further goal from substitute Hayley Raso as the Westfield Matildas recaptured their spot atop Group B in the AFC Women’s Olympic Games Qualifying Tournament.
Simon’s haul continues a stunning return to the international stage for the adaptable 28-year-old, who played as both an attacker and midfielder in the match, after a torrid run of injuries limited her returns in green-and-gold in recent years.
And while she welcomed her brace in the 6-0 win, Simon told Fox Sports that she is simply grateful to able to contribute once again for the Westfield Matildas.
“I’m really happy just to be back out there on the pitch with the girls,” she said.
“This is the first time in a long while I have played on home soil in front of a home crowd in the green and gold, so I couldn’t be happier.”
Simon and her teammates were frustrated early in the contest as the Thailand defence refused to relent in the face of repeated barrages from the Westfield Matildas attack.
However, she believes the team showed strong qualities in adapting to the situation to break through courtesy of van Egmond twice before half-time, before going on with the job in the second stanza.
“I think we got off to a slow start and then it was our character that got us through it,” Simon explained.
“We started to problem solve a little bit better and play our style of play. We capitalised in the second half of the game and in larger parts of the game as the game went on.”
The selflessness of the display was also evident in the post-match reaction of van Egmond, who netted her maiden international hat-trick and added an assist - commencing the scoring with two timely strikes immediately before half-time.
“I honestly don’t care who scores as long we win,” van Egmond revealed.
“Of course, it is a special moment to get a hat-trick but at the end of the day I am just happy to win and it is a really big step towards the next game [against China].”
Defender Alanna Kennedy also cast her thoughts towards the impending clash with China, which will determine which nation finishes in top spot ahead of the final round of Qualifiers in March.
“I think we want to win our games but we want to win convincingly, so we are really happy to bang away six goals tonight,” Kennedy said.
She added: “Obviously the big game we have all been looking forward to is China but we had to take those steps first and we are happy with the performances in the last two games and looking to take that form into the game against China."
Kennedy also served as captain for the opening hour of the match in front of family and friends at Campbelltown Stadium, before the handing the armband over to substitute Sam Kerr.
“I was really grateful for the opportunity. It is a huge honour, but when Sammy steps back on the field [the armband] is hers,” Kennedy concluded.
Match Schedule – Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Qualifiers – Group B
Matchday 4 – Thursday 13 February 2020
Western Sydney Stadium, Parramatta
- Australia v China PR – 7.30pm AEDT
Broadcast: Live on FOX SPORTS, Kayo Sports, and the My Football Live App – delayed on ABC TV.
International viewers - Live streamed via My Football YouTube channel