High-stakes Matildas clash suits Canada to a tee: Coach Bev Priestman

As Olympic champions Canada prepare for a date with a Matildas team that has everything to lose, coach Bev Priestman is backing her charges to deliver when push comes to shove.

Australia, on three points, must beat Canada, which has four, at AAMI Park on Monday night to guarantee passage to the Women’s World Cup round of 16.

Otherwise, the Matildas have to draw and rely on Ireland, still pointless, to beat Nigeria (four points), likely by two or more goals, to progress.

Canada only needs a draw to reach the knockouts but a loss would mean a Nigeria win or draw would knock it out.

“We will be coming in with fate in our hands and I feel really good with the group that I’ve got in front of us that we go and turn up and do what we do well and we’ll get that result,” Priestman said.

“Hopefully we’ve got a team that’s hard to beat in Canada and the team’s got to beat us.

“I mean if you look at it like that, we’ve got a world-class back four – whether a world-class No.9 (Sam Kerr) starts or not, we’ve got to go into this game bringing the best of us and I think history tells you that this team, when it really matters can put it all out there.

“Often teams that we’re about to play like an Australia can get the best out of this group.

“The game’s open, they’ve got to come at us and they’re a gritty team. And you put grit against grit and I think you see the best out of this group.”

If Australia is playing mind games about Kerr’s role, Canada isn’t joining in.

“The team has to be prepared to play a world-class player like Sam Kerr and we’ll be ready for that,” Priestman said.

“Ultimately does it affect me? No. How much have I spoke about if she is or if she isn’t (playing)? We haven’t. We’ve spoken about what it’s going to take to beat Australia because Australia aren’t just Sam Kerr.”

Midfielder Sophie Schmidt didn’t plan on taking too much out of two friendly wins over Australia last year.

“‘It’s tournament mode, you can’t take anything away from those wins, except for maybe some tendencies,” she said.

“But we know it’s going to be a fight tomorrow. They’re fighting for their life.”

Priestman had no plans of being turned into the villain aiming to knock out the hosts, either.

“Ultimately, we want to win,” she said.

“So if that means that we knock Australia out, we knock Australia out.”


Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.