Commonwealth Bank Matildas will regroup for the first time after the Olympics with a friendly against the Republic of Ireland on September 22sd.
Head coach Tony Gustavsson has selected a 25-man squad with a particular focus on defenders. After Australia’s fourth place in Tokyo, Gustavsson and his team have analyzed the tournament and are ready to apply these lessons to the next phase of matches.
“We spent a lot of time after the Olympics doing a thorough review of our performance, looking at all the aspects: offense, defense, individual player performance, depth in the lineup, everything.” Gustavsson explained.
“So based on that, we also looked at ‘where do we need to be in ’23 on our soil? Where are the “someday better” improvements we need to make in all aspects of the game? “It’s kind of the start of a new journey, a new chapter in our journey to improve. “
This new chapter features new faces from the 22 players who were part of the Tokyo squad. For Gustavsson and the technical staff, this friendly camp presents an opportunity for blood and a new round of players.
“One of the things we wanted to do was give a lot of players the opportunity to get into the Matildas environment, even maybe some of those players who are not really ready to be recruited, because we have to see what they can be, in two years, ”he said.
“The only way to do that is to bring them into the environment of Matildas, to expose them to this high international pace environment that we have, whether it’s exposing them to the training environment, or even s’ they do quite well in training and get a few minutes in the field.
“So now we’re moving from the Olympics, which is a performance mode, to a return to preparation, which means you might see a different take on the games and then the Olympics. “
One area that is getting a lot of attention in this camp is defense with 11 named defenders, including three potential newbies – Angie Beard, Jamilla Rankin and Winonah Heatley – and two returning players – Jenna McCormick and Emma Checker.
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“As you can see we have chosen to bring a lot of defenders into this camp which, again, is difficult for some of our attacking and attacking midfielders because I think we have quality players who don’t are not brought to this camp, which in my opinion on the basis of performance deserves to be recruited.
“We felt that at this point we needed to leave more room for more defenders.”
While this camp will be used to improve and explore defensive options as well as to continue advancing in game management and adaptability, this camp also gives the team another opportunity to refine the tools that have been so effective. in Tokyo 2020.
“We also need to keep improving the top end of our game, it’s the guns,” Gustavsson said.
“If you look at the number of goals we’ve scored and the type of goals we’ve scored, the analysis shows that we’ve had a lot more variation in the attack in this tournament than, say, the World Cup 2019.
“We have scored goals in a number of ways, left and right, both in transition and attacking, more organized and stopped games, so we need to keep sharpening those weapons and making sure we’re good in the fields. who gave us all of these goals. “
Commonwealth Bank Matildas will only play one friendly match in the September window, with a focus on individual training and preparation. The Republic of Ireland offers a challenge that this team has not yet taken up, literally; it is the first meeting between the two nations.
Gustavsson expects a tough competition anyway.
“We said we have to play as many unique opponents as possible which means different types of opponents and Ireland gives us a very different picture than other European games so far.
“It’s good for us because we always have to adapt to different challenges.
“What Ireland is going to give us is that they work extremely hard and they don’t hesitate to take a tackle. It will be a physical game, they will never give up on those challenges, the races and the character physics of the game. So in that sense, it’s a good game for us.