Football 2 years ago

Matildas in horror Olympic qualifying draw

  • Matildas in horror Olympic qualifying draw

The Matildas will need to overcome a taxing schedule and the likes of Japan and North Korea if they wish to qualify for Rio 2016.

Australia will play five games in 10 days during the six-team Olympic Qualifying tournament in Osaka, Japan, and will need to finish in the top two in order to progress to the main draw.

They face their biggest challenge in the fourth-ranked Japan in the tournament-opener on February 29, while the ninth ranked Matildas will also need to overcome North Korea (sixth), China (15th), South Korea (17th) and Vietnam (33rd)

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"I guess there is no better time to play Japan than first up when we're fresh and they're fresh," Matildas coach Alen Stajcic said.

"We've played them three times in the last 18 months and those results were a draw and two narrow losses so we know we're in the ball park to match them, we've just got to do it on the day.

"It's a bit like the World Cup. It's almost like a Group of Death trying to qualify and we've got our blockbuster first up."

Making the task even more challenging for the Matildas is the fact each squad can only comprise of 20 players, three of which are likely to be goalkeepers.

"There's no use wishing for things," Stajcic said on whether there was a preferred schedule.

"At the end of the day we've got five tough games and there are no easy opponents.

"Four teams made it through to the knockout stages of the World Cup and then you throw in North Korea who weren't at the World Cup because of their drug suspension."

MATILDAS' PATH TO OLYMPIC QUALIFICATION

vs Japan, Feb 29

vs Vietnam, Mar 2

vs South Korea, Mar 4

vs North Korea, Mar 7

vs China, Mar 9

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