15/04/2024

A group of Matildas players line-up for a training session photo. (Photo Credit: Kyah Simon/Twitter)

As we approach the group stages of the 2022 AFC Women's Asian Cup, The Inner Sanctum previews each of the Matildas' group opponents.

As we approach the group stages of the 2022 Asian Cup, The Inner Sanctum looks at the group opponents of the Matildas, what they can expect during the group stage, and the predicted starting XI for each game based on the currently named 23 player squad.

Indonesia

Last tournament appearance: 1989

Current rank (worldwide): 94th

In Group C of qualifying, Indonesia had two games against Singapore (both held at a neutral venue in Tajikistan) and won both matches 1-0 to qualify after North Korea and Iraq pulled out of qualifying.

The opening game against Australia will be only the third competitive fixture they have played since the start of 2020, with the qualifying matches against Singapore counting for the other two.

A relatively young squad that lacks goal scoring and game time at a national level, it is going to be very hard to see just how they will be able to score against Australia or avoid conceding several goals.

However, this does not mean an easy victory for Australia. The Matildas will need to be on their game and make sure they do not look past Indonesia to ensure all three points.

Matildas predicted starting XI vs Indonesia:

GK – Lydia Willams

Defenders – Steph Catley, Alanna Kennedy, Clare Polkinghorne, Ellie Carpenter

Midfielders – Kyra Cooney-Cross, Emily Van Egmond, Tameka Yallop

Forwards – Caitlin Foord, Sam Kerr, Hayley Raso

Sam Kerr lines up for a shot against the USWNT. (Photo: Thomas Pombart)

Philippines

Last tournament appearance: 2018

Current rank (worldwide): 64th

In Group F of qualifying under previous head coach Marlon Manos Maro, the Philippines won both of their matches against group opponents Hong Kong (2-1) and Nepal (2-1) to advance.

This is a fixture that many will have circled on their calendars as one to watch as former Matildas coach Alen Stajcic will be coaching against his old side for the Philippines.

This will be the biggest fixture of the group stages for the Matildas for several reasons.

If they fail to beat Indonesia, anything less than a win here could put the hopes of advancement to the knock-out stages in doubt.

Unlike Indonesia and Thailand, the Philippines squad (as of the qualifying matches) has a lot of players signed with different teams around the world including Switzerland, Germany, and the United States across club teams and universities.

Embed from Getty Images

What this means for the Philippines is a lot of experience coming into the squad through different training methods, coaching philosophies, and tactical application that will allow Stajcic to utilise all this experience and help with reason three, which is:

Having previously coached the Matildas between 2014 and 2019, Stajcic is incredibly familiar with most of the current players in the set-up of Tony Gustavsson’s side.

Despite a different coaching philosophy employed by Gustavsson, Stajcic should be able to set the Philippines up in a way that could create a lot of problems for the Matildas and exploit some of the weaknesses of Australia.

Expect Australia to perform well in this game, but it cannot afford to take the Philippines lightly, regardless of the result in the previous game against Indonesia.

Matildas predicted starting XI vs Philippines:

GK – Lydia Willams

Defenders – Steph Catley, Alanna Kennedy, Clare Polkinghorne, Ellie Carpenter

Midfielders – Kyra Cooney-Cross, Emily Van Egmond, Tameka Yallop

Forwards – Caitlin Foord, Sam Kerr, Hayley Raso

More Football News

A-League Women Team of the Week: Round 7

Does constant postponement of A-League Men games ruin the integrity of the competition?

Vidosic ‘proud’ of City Matildas amongst selection headache

Thailand

Last tournament appearance: 2018

Current rank (worldwide): 38th

In Group H of qualifying, Thailand won both of its matches in convincing fashion, beating Malaysia and Palestine, scoring 11 goals with five different players getting on the scoresheet across the two fixtures while conceding none.

Its last meeting against Australia was a loss in Olympic Qualifying (6-0), having struggled against high ranked opposition in recent years.

This could prove to be a must-win fixture for the Matildas to ensure progression beyond the group stages. Despite the score line in the previous fixture between the two nations at a senior level, Australia will need to be on their game for this one.

Regardless of whether Tony Gustavsson’s side have secured a spot in the knock-out rounds, this fixture should still be treated with a lot of respect.

Thailand could cause a lot of trouble and slow down any momentum Australia developed during the matches against Indonesia and the Philippines if it is taken lightly, or need a result to progress.

On the other hand, if Australia has secured qualification, this could lead to some extended game time for some of the newcomers to the line-up with some rest to the main starters.

Matildas predicted starting XI vs Thailand:

GK – Lydia Willams

Defenders – Steph Catley, Charlotte Grant, Courtney Nevin, Ellie Carpenter

Midfielders – Kyra Cooney-Cross, Aivi Luik*, Clare Wheeler

Forwards – Cortnee Vine, Remy Siemsen, Emily Gielnik

*Aivi Luik has been named as a defender but has a lot of experience in midfield, and should get some game time at midfield in this game to give some starters a rest.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

About Author

Leave a Reply