7/17/2018 8:58:29 PM (GMT+3)

Ravishing 'Matildas' ready to hit the pitch


CANBERRA, Australia: AFC Women's Player of the Year Sam Kerr lead a strong 20-member Australian squad at the Tournament of Nations.

The team also features 11 players who are currently plying their trade in the US-based National Women's Soccer League, and a further four playing in Europe.

One of the American-based brigade, 2016 AFC Women's Player of the Year Caitlin Foord, is a welcome inclusion having missed Jordan 2018 through injury while Alex Chidiac earned selection to cap a memorable week, which included putting pen to paper for Spanish champions Atlético Madrid.

Amy Sayer, 16, is the only uncapped player in Stajcic's squad. The promising youngster has been called up after representing Australia with distinction at the AFC U-16 and U-19 Championships in 2017.

The Matildas were highly impressive in winning the inaugural Tournament of Nations in 2017, registering 1-0, 4-2 and 6-1 wins over the US, Japan and Brazil respectively.

With the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup less than a year way, coach Alen Stajcic sees this year's competition as a chance to remind the world of Australia's quality.

“The forthcoming Tournament of Nations kicks off a massive 12 months for women’s football in Australia,” Stajcic said in an interview the the-afc.com.

“While we will naturally be aiming to defend our Tournament of Nations title, we will also be focused on continuing to develop as a unit while we are in the USA as we look ahead to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.

“Brazil, Japan, and the USA will provide tough opposition for us over the comings weeks, however over the past year we have shown on multiple occasions that we can not only match, but beat, the very best.

“The 2018 Tournament of Nations offers us an opportunity to show that we can continue to perform at the highest level against three of the top ranked nations in world football,” added Stajcic.

Australia begin their campaign against Brazil on July 26 and they face 2015 World Cup-winners USA four days later before resuming their rivalry with Asian Cup winners Japan on August 3. (Pic credit: the-afc.com)