The Australian Women’s team are top of their group after two consecutive wins in the AFC Women’s qualifiers for the 2016 Olympics but with three games left Emily Van Egmond says the Matildas aren’t packing their bags for Rio just yet.
The Matildas thrashed Vietnam 9-0 in their second game in the final qualification round putting them on six points - two head of second placed China who are on four.
Only the top two teams qualify for Rio.
While Australia and China lead the group, the two highest ranked teams Japan and North Korea are yet to register a win.
Van Egmond got on the score sheet in the emphatic win against Vietnam and the Australian midfielder says that the team’s goal is to get the three points in their upcoming fixtures against South Korea, North Korea and China.
“Obviously we’ve done well to begin with,” she said “The results of the other games have gone our way but we’ve got three tough games now so it’s up to us whether we do something with the good position we’ve put ourselves in.
“We should be focusing on winning all three of our remaining games. I don’t think we should be content with what has gone on so far. We’ve got massive games coming up and we should be going into them with the same mentality as we did to the first two.”
The South Korean’s may be winless in the tournament but they are still in a chance to qualify. After drawing their first two games against North Korea and Japan they have shown they are able to match more fancied opponents. Van Egmond says the Matildas must not look further ahead than tonight’s game.
“We all definitely know that we’re not on that plane yet to Rio,” she said. “We’ve still got work to do to get there. But the mood is positive and we’ll be looking to go in with the same mentality as we did against Japan.
“They (South Korea) have some really good players that we’ll look to nullify and I think if we can do that. We’ve got a good chance with some of the attacking weapons we have up front.”
Van Egmond has played two games in four days for the Australians.
She was given some respite in the second game against Vietnam when she was substituted in the 70th minute.
The Matildas co-captain says she and the team’s is in good physical shape for the games ahead.
“I’m feeling good,” she said. “Obviously it’s a hard schedule like people have said but every other team is in the same boat so if we can be physically one step ahead of the other teams that’s already a big edge we have on them.”
- Con Stamocostas is an Australian football writer. Click here to see more of his work and check out the latest episode of his A-League Snobcast with co-host Rob Toddler.