Matildas to face former boss Alen Stajcic in Paris Olympics test

The Matildas will face former coach Alen Stajcic's Philippines in qualifying for the Paris Olympics.

The Matildas will face former coach Alen Stajcic's Philippines in qualifying for the Paris Olympics. Photo: AP

The Matildas have narrowly avoided the qualifying group of death in their quest for Olympic glory and will come up against former coach Alen Stajcic once again.

The highest-ranked Asian team will have an easier path to the final round of qualifying after avoiding football powerhouses South and North Korea.

Tony Gustavsson’s Australian side will face Taiwan (world No.37), the Philippines (49) and Iran (67) on home soil on their way to the final knockout round to be held in 2024.

“To find out what our path to Paris 2024 looks like provides much welcome clarity as to the task at hand, and we are excited to begin our campaign on home soil with the support of our amazing fans,” Swede Gustavsson said.

The world No.10 Matildas downed an impressive Philippines side, led by Stajcic, in last year’s Asian Cup group stage 4-0.

The Philippines, though, went onto nab fourth place in the competition, one place higher than Australia, and will make their World Cup debut later this year.

The Matildas once again face a Taiwanese side in a second-round Olympic qualifier after the Aussies came out on top by scoring seven unanswered goals four years ago.

The Aussies will face a burgeoning Iranian side who made it into the second round of qualifying after two hard-fought wins in the previous round.

Australia join China, North and South Korea and Japan as having pre-qualified for the second round of Olympic qualifiers being ranked in the top-five Asian teams.

Along with China and Uzbekistan, Australia will host a leg of the matches which begin in late October.

The teams will play a single round-robin match with the three group winners and the best-placed runner-up to progress into the final round of qualifying where they will battle it out for the two Olympic places.

“The Olympics hold a very special place in my heart as it was the first tournament I experienced with the CommBank Matildas in 2021,” Gustavsson said.

“It was during the Tokyo Olympics that I was privileged to share an inspiring run with this group of players and also truly understand the unique qualities of this team and what they stand for.”

The Matildas will be looking to better their best-ever Olympic placing after falling short in the bronze medal match against the US in Japan.

Asian qualifying groups

A – Australia, Taiwan, Philippines, Iran

B – China, South Korea, Thailand, North Korea

C – Japan, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, India


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