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Matildas switch focus to Olympics

Matildas switch focus to Olympics

By Eurosport
Last update The 11/07/2011 at 10:07 -
By Eurosport - The 11/07/2011 at 10:07
The Matildas will have little time to savour their record-equalling FIFA World Cup performance, with a cut-throat Olympic football qualification tournament looming large in less than two months.
 

A 3-1 loss to Sweden in Germany on Sunday ended another stirring World Cup campaign for Australia's women, who emulated the quarter-final heroics of the 2007 team.

Australia failed to qualify for the 2008 Olympics and coach Tom Sermanni said it would be a difficult challenge this time around, with just two nations advancing from a six-team round robin tournament in China.

Starting on September 1, the Matildas play five matches in 11 days against North Korea, Thailand, Japan, China and South Korea.

"We really don't have much time off and we've got to get back on track and get back in the mix for that tournament," Sermanni told AAP.

"It will be last team standing basically in the end."

Sermanni expected all of his World Cup squad to be available.

Despite his disappointment at elimination from the World Cup, Sermanni was bullish about the future following the rousing efforts of a youthful squad containing several teenagers and players in their early 20s.

"I think we've got the makings of a very good team here ... and we'll be trying to build on this World Cup," Sermanni said.

"Hopefully we'll qualify for the Olympics, that's going to be very difficult, but if we can do that, then that's another step forward and I think in many ways, we've taken a step forward in this tournament.

"It's a time consuming thing rebuilding a team and we've come a long way in a short period of time.

"We've got some really promising talent and at the same time I think we've got some players who are at the prime of their career and will be for the next few years."

The loss to Sweden, who scored twice in the first 16 minutes, meant Australia were denied a crack at surprise semi-finalist Japan, who eliminated tournament hosts and defending champions Germany.

"A chance lost?, that's hard to say, we're just disappointed we're going home," Sermanni said.

He acknowledged Australia needed to eradicate the defensive lapses responsible for all seven goals conceded at tournament.

"It's not inexperience, we're talking about players who have had an outstanding tournament and players who won the Asian Cup last year," Sermanni said.

"You cannot legislate for someone making a mistake, it just happens."

Sermanni nominated outstanding left back Elise Kellond-Knight and the squad's youngest member, 16-year-old utility Caitlin Foord, as his most consistent players in Germany.

 
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