Coach warns Matildas still underdone

May 1, 2008
By Guy Hand

Matildas coach Tom Sermanni admits his side may be underdone going into the Women's Asian Cup soccer tournament later this month.

Australia play the second of two matches against world No.2 United States on Sunday, Australian time, then Canada in Sydney on May 23 ahead of their opening Asian Cup match against Taiwan on May 28.

But it is a far cry from the huge schedule of games ahead of last year's Women's World Cup, which helped catapult the Matildas to a surprise quarter-final finish.

The light lead-up, as well as a revolving door of players due to club commitments and injuries, has Sermanni believing the team is not quite where he would like it to be at this stage.

"We're probably a little bit underdone to be honest (for the Asian Cup)," Sermanni said from Birmingham, Alabama ahead of the US friendly.

"We've got these two games and the game against Canada will help, but we're not in the same zone as we were going into the Women's World Cup where we were coming off the back of 16 or 17 games.

"Probably the key thing is not losing any key players to injury before the tournament, and (how we cope) bringing players to and from overseas."

World Cup hero Lisa De Vanna is missing from the US tour because of commitments with her Swedish club.

And experienced quartet Joanne Peters (knee), Dianne Alagich, Caitlin Munoz and Heather Garriock have all sustained injuries this week.

Garriock was supposed to return to Denmark for her club Fortuna Hjorring's Danish Cup final in between the US friendlies, but injury forced her to remain in the US as her club side won 4-0.

Sermanni said she was likely to play after recovering from a corked leg sustained in the 3-2 loss to the US last weekend.

Striker Munoz, who missed the opening match, is also a chance for inclusion to help boost the Matildas' firepower for Sunday.

"Joey Peters is unlikely to be considered for selection, Dianne has a thigh strain but should be available for selection and Caitlin - we'll see how she goes," Sermanni said.

"Heather should be fine as well."