Infotainment Factory: How World Cup snub could bite Matildas

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Tuesday, 21 May 2019

How World Cup snub could bite Matildas


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New Matildas coach Ante Milicic had some "expected" and "safe" selections in his 2019 Women's World Cup squad, but he may regret a few omissions according to an Australian football legend.

Milicic unveiled his 23-woman squad for the World Cup last week as the Matildas finalise their preparations for the tournament in France starting on June 7.

It was a mix of youth and experience in the squad, but there were some notable names left off the list, and none could be greater than Kyah Simon.

Simon had only recently overcome an ankle injury - syndesmosis - and obviously didn't do enough to prove her fitness to Milicic. But it's a selection decision that could come back to haunt the Matildas, says Heather Garriock.

"Ante has only been in the job for a short time so I think the squad he selected was safe, but Kyah Simon missing out was a surprise to me," the Matildas legend and Optus Sport World Cup analyst told Wide World of Sports.

"Yes she’s been injured, yes she hasn’t had much game-time over the past 18 months, but this is a player who has produced at major competitions and could have been utilised even if it’s for 15-20 minutes off the bench in a major game where we need to get a result."

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bu49lntDSS5/

Not only does Simon offer composure to produce big plays, but she also plays a leadership role within the Matildas as one of the more senior players on the team. Garriock and Simon were both national and domestic teammates as one was nearing the end of her 18-year playing career and the latter's was just beginning to blossom.

Garriock had 130 caps for the Matildas and went to two Olympics. Now into her sixth year as a coach, she described Simon as a "fighter" but admitted it would have hurt the 27-year-old.

"I think she’ll be really disappointed," Garriock said.

"She’d understand the fact that she hasn’t been playing a lot of minutes recently, but I think she would have also been thinking she had a lot of runs on the board and still could have contributed to the team at the World Cup."

Australia's Ellyse Perry, Collette McCallum, Emily Van Egmond, Kim Carroll, Kyah Simon, Lisa De Vanna, from top left, and, from bottom left, Caitlin Foord, Elise Kellond-Knight, goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri, Heather Garriock, Servet Uzunlar

Simon is listed to travel to the pre-World Cup training camp in Turkey as a standby player, but it would take an unlikely change for her to make the squad proper before Australia's first match in the tournament against Italy on June 9.

Garriock believes the 5-3 friendly loss to the USA revealed some telling leadership and defensive concerns for the Matildas, and if they're a chance to win the tournament, that will need to improve.

"From a group point of view, I think we’ll do really well, it’ll just be a matter of who we come up against in the later stages, especially good teams like we saw against America. They exposed us quite dramatically," she said.

"I don’t want to be harsh but just from a general perspective, it was good timing to have that friendly, because conceding five goals at any national team level is not acceptable. I think the depth in our backline is a key weakness for us at the World Cup."

Milicic upbeat after Matildas loss

Garriock revealed some doubts over whether new Matildas captain Sam Kerr would be able to effectively lead the team in France after what she saw in the USA warm-up match.

"Her being captain at a major tournament is something that is going to be different for her. It will be interesting to see how she leads the team. I’m sure she’ll do it confidently, but even more interesting to see how she leads when there’s adversity, or going down by a goal, or needing a result," she said.

Garriock also questioned how vice-captain Steph Catley's leadership style would translate at the Women's World Cup alongside Kerr.

"She’s not vocal. She’s a vice-captain that leads by example, similar to Sam Kerr. Both of them are very similar," Garriock said.

"From that point of view, there’s no real vocal captain.

"So when times are tough and you really need to dig deep in a major tournament like that, it’ll be interesting to see who steps up."

Sam Kerr

Garriock said another shock selection was at the other end of the pitch.

"A majority of the players that should of made it were in there but a big surprise was the goalkeeper situation," Garriock said.

Lydia Williams, Mackenzie Arnold, and Teagan Micah were named as the goalkeepers in Milicic's 2019 Women's World Cup squad. Though Garriock believes Eliza Campbell was unlucky not to be recognised for her recent form, including a W-League Grand Final appearance with Perth Glory.

"Eliza Campbell I think has been outstanding, especially this past W-League season," Garriock said.

"And to announce a goalkeeper that hasn’t even been in the country was a surprise.

"Lydia Williams, she’s our number one goalkeeper and she’s hardly played."

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bxdx_q-Hfwv/

Despite the perceived selection stumbles, Garriock said she sees the Matildas having a shot at winning the 2019 Women's World Cup, with the current crop considered the best female Australian footballers ever assembled.

"It’s expected that we go further than we’ve ever been. People call this a golden generation," she said.

"We’ve got players that have been together for many years now. If we don’t make semis at a minimum I think this campaign is a failure.

"If we make it past those final stages I think it’s anyone’s game."

Optus Sport is the only place to watch all 52 games of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup

New Matildas coach Ante Milicic had some "expected" and "safe" selections in his 2019 Women's World Cup squad, but he may regret a few omissions according to an Australian football legend.

Milicic unveiled his 23-woman squad for the World Cup last week as the Matildas finalise their preparations for the tournament in France starting on June 7.

It was a mix of youth and experience in the squad, but there were some notable names left off the list, and none could be greater than Kyah Simon.

Simon had only recently overcome an ankle injury - syndesmosis - and obviously didn't do enough to prove her fitness to Milicic. But it's a selection decision that could come back to haunt the Matildas, says Heather Garriock.

"Ante has only been in the job for a short time so I think the squad he selected was safe, but Kyah Simon missing out was a surprise to me," the Matildas legend and Optus Sport World Cup analyst told Wide World of Sports.

"Yes she’s been injured, yes she hasn’t had much game-time over the past 18 months, but this is a player who has produced at major competitions and could have been utilised even if it’s for 15-20 minutes off the bench in a major game where we need to get a result."

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bu49lntDSS5/

Not only does Simon offer composure to produce big plays, but she also plays a leadership role within the Matildas as one of the more senior players on the team. Garriock and Simon were both national and domestic teammates as one was nearing the end of her 18-year playing career and the latter's was just beginning to blossom.

Garriock had 130 caps for the Matildas and went to two Olympics. Now into her sixth year as a coach, she described Simon as a "fighter" but admitted it would have hurt the 27-year-old.

"I think she’ll be really disappointed," Garriock said.

"She’d understand the fact that she hasn’t been playing a lot of minutes recently, but I think she would have also been thinking she had a lot of runs on the board and still could have contributed to the team at the World Cup."

Australia's Ellyse Perry, Collette McCallum, Emily Van Egmond, Kim Carroll, Kyah Simon, Lisa De Vanna, from top left, and, from bottom left, Caitlin Foord, Elise Kellond-Knight, goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri, Heather Garriock, Servet Uzunlar

Simon is listed to travel to the pre-World Cup training camp in Turkey as a standby player, but it would take an unlikely change for her to make the squad proper before Australia's first match in the tournament against Italy on June 9.

Garriock believes the 5-3 friendly loss to the USA revealed some telling leadership and defensive concerns for the Matildas, and if they're a chance to win the tournament, that will need to improve.

"From a group point of view, I think we’ll do really well, it’ll just be a matter of who we come up against in the later stages, especially good teams like we saw against America. They exposed us quite dramatically," she said.

"I don’t want to be harsh but just from a general perspective, it was good timing to have that friendly, because conceding five goals at any national team level is not acceptable. I think the depth in our backline is a key weakness for us at the World Cup."

Milicic upbeat after Matildas loss

Garriock revealed some doubts over whether new Matildas captain Sam Kerr would be able to effectively lead the team in France after what she saw in the USA warm-up match.

"Her being captain at a major tournament is something that is going to be different for her. It will be interesting to see how she leads the team. I’m sure she’ll do it confidently, but even more interesting to see how she leads when there’s adversity, or going down by a goal, or needing a result," she said.

Garriock also questioned how vice-captain Steph Catley's leadership style would translate at the Women's World Cup alongside Kerr.

"She’s not vocal. She’s a vice-captain that leads by example, similar to Sam Kerr. Both of them are very similar," Garriock said.

"From that point of view, there’s no real vocal captain.

"So when times are tough and you really need to dig deep in a major tournament like that, it’ll be interesting to see who steps up."

Sam Kerr

Garriock said another shock selection was at the other end of the pitch.

"A majority of the players that should of made it were in there but a big surprise was the goalkeeper situation," Garriock said.

Lydia Williams, Mackenzie Arnold, and Teagan Micah were named as the goalkeepers in Milicic's 2019 Women's World Cup squad. Though Garriock believes Eliza Campbell was unlucky not to be recognised for her recent form, including a W-League Grand Final appearance with Perth Glory.

"Eliza Campbell I think has been outstanding, especially this past W-League season," Garriock said.

"And to announce a goalkeeper that hasn’t even been in the country was a surprise.

"Lydia Williams, she’s our number one goalkeeper and she’s hardly played."

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bxdx_q-Hfwv/

Despite the perceived selection stumbles, Garriock said she sees the Matildas having a shot at winning the 2019 Women's World Cup, with the current crop considered the best female Australian footballers ever assembled.

"It’s expected that we go further than we’ve ever been. People call this a golden generation," she said.

"We’ve got players that have been together for many years now. If we don’t make semis at a minimum I think this campaign is a failure.

"If we make it past those final stages I think it’s anyone’s game."

Optus Sport is the only place to watch all 52 games of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup

http://bit.ly/2VUg8ZB
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