Five things we learned from Matildas Cup of Nations victory


A look at five things Matildas coach Ante Milicic will have learned from Australia's win in the Cup of Nations.

1. There is life after Alen Stajcic

The Matildas were crestfallen and worried when the shock news that their former coach had been axed filtered through, but plainly their sights are set on the 2019 FIFA World Cup. Several players pointedly talked of the fun and freedom under new coach Ante Milicic, and the performances were strong.

2. Sam Kerr was an inspired captaincy choice

There were more experienced and level-headed choices before Milicic to skipper the Matildas, but on this evidence Kerr is the right one. The 25-year-old led the line in all three matches with intensity and focus, scoring three goals and never failing in her defensive duties.

3. Emily Gielnik is going to the World Cup

And she could be a star in France. The Melbourne Victory attacker has kept up her W-League form in a Matildas shirt, quickly becoming a favourite of coach Milicic. Her late goal against Korea Republic was Australia's goal of the tournament and it's hard to see her missing out on the squad from here.

4. At this stage, so is Lisa De Vanna and Aivi Luik

There are a few places in the World Cup squad of 23 up for grabs. One is as Elise Kellond-Knight's deputy in the holding role, and Luik has impressed more than rival Teresa Polias across the tournament. De Vanna looked sharp in Brisbane but will also face a challenge from returning hopeful Kyah Simon.

5. FFA should stage another Cup of Nations

What terrific exposure and preparation this event has been for the Matildas, three months out from their World Cup opener against Italy. With 25,000 attendees across the three matches, there's plainly an appetite from the public. A follow-up should be scheduled next year to help Australia lead into the Olympics.

Source AAP