‘We see the girls playing with a smile on their face’: Milicic's Matildas won’t change attacking style

Matildas head coach Ante Milicic says his side are still a work in progress but will only get better as they look to embrace their attacking philosophy against Norway in their Round of 16 match in Nice.

Australia has scored eight goals at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 so far, with four coming in their final Group C game against Jamaica during the week.

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Ahead of their do-or-die clash with the Norwegians on Sunday morning (AEST), Milicic said his team would not back down from their attacking style.

“I’m very strong with my feelings about how I feel the game should be played,” Milicic told reporters at his pre-match press conference.

“I look at this group of players and they’re very strong technically. They want to be in possession of the football, they want to attack.

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“We see the girls playing with a smile on their faces and they’re enjoying that. That’s what we’re going to continue to do and believe in.

“We’re still working on it, we’re taking small steps but we believe firmly that if we want to progress as a team that’s the way we’re going to go about it.”

When asked about Norway, a side known for their defensive strength, Milicic said it would be a challenge to face a vastly different opponent to those that the Matildas have so far come across at France 2019, but one the players would relish.

“They’re a very well organised team. They’ve got good structure, they’ve got a lot of stability in their line-up as well,” he said.

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“Defensively [Norway are] very solid but at the same time [they] can break in transition. They have a good variation in their play, they can build up from the back but can also hurt you with the direct brand of football not to mention set pieces.

“It’s a completely different opponent to what we’ve come up against in the first three games but as always we’ve looked at the footage and keep coming back to our style and what we believe in.”

Tameka Yallop in training with the Matildas in France

Matildas midfielder Tameka Yallop echoed her coach’s thoughts and dismissed suggestions that her experience in Norwegian club football would have an impact on the game.

Yallop plays her club football with Klepp IL in the Norwegian Toppserien and has shared the pitch with many of the players likely to be lining up for the Scandinavian country on Sunday (AEST).

“It’s neither an advantage or disadvantage,” Yallop said.

“It’s not going to affect the way I play, our team plays or how they play. They’ve got a solid team and so do we... the performance on the day will be of a high standard regardless.”

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World Cup France 2019™ – Round of 16 - Next Australia match

Norway v Australia
Date: Sunday, 23 June 2019 (AEST)
Venue: Stade de Nice, Nice
Kick-off: 5.00am AEST (9.00pm local time, Saturday 22 June)

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