De Vanna: Don't believe the hype
After US national team star Carli Lloyd rated the Matildas a medal chance at the Rio Olympics, Aussie captain Lisa De Vanna says the American may have to change her prediction if they meet in the knockout stages.
Speaking to Four Four Two in mid-July, Lloyd said the Australians had the quality to reach the Olympic final.
However, De Vanna’s response was that the two-time Olympic gold medallist may have to reassess her forecast if the two teams were drawn to face each other earlier in the tournament.
“She’ll probably change her mind if we play each other in the Quarter Final. She may have to take her words back,” said the Matildas captain.
“It’s great that someone like her believes that we can be medal contenders but at the end of the day we don’t listen to hype - it’s up to us.
“I don’t care how many people - who they are that tell us these things - it’s got to be up to us and only us - we are the ones that have to go out there and perform.
“Right now it’s all talk and right now people hype it up but at the end of the day we have to go out there and I’ve always been a strong believer in that.”
After an impressive qualifying tournament to get to Brazil the Matildas have high expectations to reach the podium.
However, De Vanna trusts the favourites tag won’t affect the group and says the Aussies will leave Rio with a medal.
“Yeah I do believe that and our whole team does if we play to our potential,” she said “If we go out there and play to our best then I think we are medal contenders.
“As a group we went to the World Cup where we weren’t expected to get out of the group of death and we did that and we weren’t expected to qualify for the Olympic games and we did that. The girls know exactly what’s needed. Under those circumstances there is a bit a pressure but we’ve been there and done that.”
De Vanna added: “Pressure brings the best out of people. It makes you focused. It makes you ready and it makes you hungry. But it can also be your downfall and it can also have the opposite effect.
“But for me personally I play better when I have pressure and expectations and I deal with it better.”
The well-known striker has played at three World Cup and is at her second Olympics.
Being at the veteran stage of her career De Vanna knows that this may be her best chance for glory in the green and gold.
“I’m 31 years old and for me personally it would be nice to have something to show after all the years I’ve played football for Australia,” she said. “I know that it’s not something that is just going to come straight to you, it’s something that you’ve got to work for and if I walk away from the field knowing that we all gave it 100% then I’m happy knowing that.”