Lisa De Vanna puts in the hard yards at training.
Lisa De Vanna puts in the hard yards at training.

Matildas ready for tough South American test

YOU only have to look at the Matildas' opponents at the World Cup to realise why Wednesday night's Cup of Nations closer with Argentina is significant.

This June, Australia will play Brazil and Jamaica at the global showpiece, making the AAMI Park match a key tune-up against a nation from the same region.

The tournament has been designed to simulate a group stage at the World Cup; with three matches in a short time.

So far, Australia have passed the test, with wins over top-20 nations South Korea and New Zealand.

A final clash with another World Cup-bound Argentina awaits, with Clare Polkinghorne saying there was an emphasis on finishing strongly.

"We've got to back up again. In tournament football you've got to back up," she said.

"Ante has rotated the squad a little bit as well so we'll have fresh legs on Wednesday. We have to bounce back and put in another performance."

Clare Polkinghorne tries to win the ball from Elise Kellond-Knight at training.
Clare Polkinghorne tries to win the ball from Elise Kellond-Knight at training.

Polkinghorne, who has started both matches and could well be due a spell given coach Ante Milicic's emphasis on squad rotation, saluted the scheduling of the South American nation.

"That's been the purpose of these three games. To emulate what we're going to come up against in France," she said.

"It's definitely going to be a good yardstick of where we are against a South American team."

While Australia can seal the Cup of Nations by avoiding defeat, Argentina are set to finish last, losing 5-0 to South Korea and 2-0 to New Zealand.

Emily van Egmond said they weren't expecting a Wednesday stroll.

"They're got some really good technical ability and some really good flair," she said.

"Where women's football is going, every game is a hard game.

"We just need to keep building under Ante and the girls are extremely excited about that.

"The World Cup is going to come really really quick and we've only got a certain amount of games. Every game is important."