"We play these games to be in those moments": Kyah Simon ready to thrive under pressure

Kyah Simon is no stranger to the AFC Women's Asian Cup. 

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After all, it was her penalty in 2010 which won the Commonwealth Bank Matildas the title. But even with several continental cups and FIFA Women's World Cups under her belt, Simon still feels a thrill heading into a major tournament. 

"I love tournament football, I love high-pressure moments and football. We play these games to be in those moments," Simon told media. 

"I just enjoy the challenge. When there's something on the line, there's something at stake at a major tournament, you do all you possibly can, in your power as an individual, but also as a team, to hope to be successful in that tournament." 

The team that has been selected for the 2022 edition of the AFC Women's Asian Cup in India is a careful mix of experienced heads and exciting youngsters. 

Simon believes the core group is well complemented by the fresher faces in the team. 

"We've still got the majority of the core group that we've had for the last few years, but we've got some new fresh faces.

"We had a couple that made the squad for the last couple of spots and they've done really well in training. I think we're ready to go and for the tournament to start.

"We've got a good combination of experienced players, but also some young up-and-coming players that hopefully get their opportunity and can show what they can do on the world stage."

The squad boasts a plethora of attacking options. Alongside Simon are the likes of Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord who are no strangers to this level, as well as players like Mary Fowler, who has emerged in the last 12 months, and Holly McNamara and Cortnee Vine who will hope to earn their first-ever caps. 

MATCH PREVIEW: 2022 AFC Women's Asian Cup Preview - Australia v Indonesia

HOW TO WATCH: The Matildas at the 2022 AFC Women's Asian Cup

READ: Holly McNamara: "I just can't wait to get to the Asian Cup and get started"

A top-heavy squad is not a concern for Simon thanks to the versatility of the playing group. 

"When you do look at the team on paper, there is a lot of strikers. But in saying that, I guess the paper doesn't say that a lot of those players can also be versatile players and play in the midfield," Simon explained. 

"I think that's the beauty of our squad, we do have a lot of those attacking players that can probably drop into midfield and play a couple of roles and any role that the team may need from us."

Australian football fans will be hoping the team can flip the script when it comes to the AFC Women's Asian Cup; while Australia has made the last two finals, Japan has been victorious on both occasions. 

Simon and the playing group have expectations of themselves and that absolutely includes a desire to lift the trophy at the end of the tournament. 

"You play football and you play in tournaments to win them. That's no different for this tournament than it has been for any previous tournament or any game that we play and represent our country in.

"We have our own expectations so I don't think we need to put any extra pressure on ourselves from external sources. We've got our own goals in-house that we want to achieve. Obviously, that's the win. "

While it has been 12 years since the Commonwealth Bank Matildas have lifted the AFC Women's Asian Cup, the team isn't getting ahead of themselves with the focus squarely on the opening group game against Indonesia. 

Commonwealth Bank Matildas Matches | AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022™ | Group Stage

Commonwealth Bank Matildas v Indonesia
Date: Friday, 21 January 2022
Venue: Mumbai Football Arena, Mumbai
Kick-off: 3.30pm (local), 9pm (AEDT)
Broadcast: Live and Exclusive on Network 10 and 10 Play

Philippines v Commonwealth Bank Matildas
Date: Monday, 24 January 2022
Venue: Mumbai Football Arena, Mumbai
Kick-off:  3.30pm (local), 9pm (AEDT)
Broadcast: Live and Exclusive on Network 10 and 10 Play

Commonwealth Bank Matildas v Thailand
Date: Thursday, 27 January 2022 / Friday, 28 January 2022
Venue: Mumbai Football Arena, Mumbai
Kick-off: 7.30pm (local), 01:00am (AEDT)
Broadcast: Live and Exclusive on Network 10 and 10 Play

For more information on the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, please visit here.