This match signals the final chance for coach Alen Stajcic to have his overseas based contingent before they all meet up again in Brazil in early July for a month long preparation ahead of their first match of the Rio Games against Canada on 3 August, and he has made no secret in the past week how important tomorrow night and the time together of the past week is.
“Hopefully by the time we get out there tomorrow we would have improved our cohesion and have a little bit more of the rhythm we had at the qualifiers.
“But really the big picture is just improving all of the things that we can and lay a good foundation for when we get to Brazil.”
Stajcic hinted at a number of changes to his line up for tomorrow’s international with Kyah Simon, Laura Alleway, Lydia Williams and Emily van Egmond all a strong chance to start.
With teams only permitted to submit squads of 18 players for the Rio Games, Stajcic said there was plenty of incentive for players to stake their claims and he is relishing the opportunity to expose his team on a big stage against a high quality Football Ferns outfit.
“We’re pretty close but the final squad won’t be announced until early July so even if you look at this group, there are 20 players here and it has to go down to 18... so there’s big competition for those last couple of spots."
Co-captain Lisa De Vanna played the last time the Matildas and Socceroos featured in a double header and the veteran of 110 international appearances is excited to again be part of what will be a memorable night for Australian football.
“I think it shows that we’re starting to slowly go on that path of making football as one in this country, so to have the fans and the families out to support both us and the Socceroos tomorrow night at Etihad Stadium will be fantastic.”
The only current Matilda to have been to a Games after she was a member of the team in Athens in 2004, De Vanna admits there is a special feeling among today’s group that they can take all before them in Rio, this belief a driving force spurring her on and making her as hungry as ever to succeed.
“The way that we feel going into Rio is strong belief that we can take it to the world and get a medal.
“I solemnly believe that in my heart and in the past it has always been numbers and talk but there is a real feeling and belief that we can do it.”
Matildas match details
The match will be LIVE on FOX SPORTS (Channel 505) and ABC TV.
- Tuesday 7 June 2016
- Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
- Kick-Off: 5:00pm AEST
- Ticketing details