So the Matildas kickstarted their 2010 AFC Asian Women's Cup with a win! And even more interesting, in the other match in Group B, Korea Republic and China played out a 0-0 draw. That has two great benefits, that Australia already have three points while the two teams they really have to beat to get into the finals only has one and the Matildas already have a better goal difference. But aside from that, let's look quickly at last night's game and what it all means.
The good parts: A relatively easy win to get confidence up and experience into Australia's most inexperienced line-up. I though Leena Khamis was great, she just has that bit of anger, and she uses it to perfection. Her aggressive style, which was just to run straight at Vietnam's defenders, worked very well. Kylie Ledbrook was great too and I think she deserves to stay in the midfield when the A-team comes in against Korea. Defence was fine, Slatyer and Uzunlar the best, but they also didn't get very much of a work-out.
The bad parts: Some terrible passing early on in the game and getting too caught-up in Vietnam's game, which was basically to try and boot the ball anywhere they could out of defence. It didn't really work for them, and it didn't really work for the Matildas. But still enough quality there to show the Matildas deserved the win. Aivi Luik and Sally Shipard had a few 'oops' moments where they lost the ball, but both always chased it up. Plus for Luik that game was mostly about experience and for Shipard, getting back in the swing of it, they'll both be better for it. Not anything bad actually, just showed that some players were a little rusty, and some inexperienced, which was to be expected in that starting XI.
What Tom said: “Vietnam played very well and it was a tough first game. They were disciplined in defence and had some good passages of play,” said Sermanni.
“We are pleased to get the win which was our aim as we knew it would be difficult. I am satisfied with the win, but I think we could have played better.
“We have come to expect tough games against the likes of Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar, so to come through unscathed with a win is a positive.
“But we did have quite a few nerves and we didn't quite reach the high expectations we could have.”
“When we play in these tournaments it is very important to use the squad as a whole instead of just relying on the same starting 11.
“Both China and Korea will be very difficult to play against and to beat.
“There will be significant changes for the next game and we’ll see where we are placed following that.”
What comes next: Korea Republic - who opened with that aformentioned 0-0 draw with China in their match last night. And almost a whole team full of changes, with Polkinghorne, Garriock, McCallum, Walsh, Gill and de VVanna still to come in. I'd be very surprised if any of those players didn't play next game.
Interesting that Elise Kellond-Knight didn't play, which makes me think she is now considered one of the top Matildas midfielders. I'm a huge KK fan, she's gritty and tough but also technically very good, so I'd be very happy to see her holding down a central position in there.
AUSTRALIA 2 (Leena KHAMIS 28’, Kylie LEDBROOK 52’ (pen)) bt VIETNAM 0 at the Chengdu Sports Center Stadium, Chengdu, China on Wednesday, May 19, 2010.
Referee: Ri Hyang OK
Assistant referees: Hong Kum NYO and Liu Hsiu MEI
Fourth official: Sachiko Yamagishi
Australia starting line-up: 18.Lydia WILLIAMS (GK), 3.Karla REUTER, 5.Lauren COLTHORPE (31.Teigen ALLEN 64’), 6.Servet UZUNLAR (22.Sam KERR 53’), 10.Kylie LEDBROOK, 13.Thea SLATYER (c), 15.Sally SHIPARD, 17.Kyah SIMON, 19.Leena KHAMIS, 24.Tameka BUTT, 27.Aivi LUIK
Substitutes not used: 1.Melissa BARBIERI (gk), 4.Clare POLKINGHORNE, 7.Heather GARRIOCK, 9.Sarah WALSH, 11.Lisa DE VANNA, 12. Kate GILL, 16.Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT, , 25.Casey DUMONT (gk)
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil
Vietnam starting line-up: 1.TRINH (gk), 4.Nguywen Thi Hanh, 7.Nguyen Thi Nga, 8.Dao Thi Mien, 13.Nguyen Thi Muon (19.Oanh 76’), 14.Chi, 15.Anh, 16.Le Thi Thuong, 18.Nguyet,23.Hong,29.An
Substitutes not used: 3.Nhieu Tuy Linh, 5.Nhu, 10.Nguyen Thi Thanh, 12.Phu, 17.Nguyen Hai Hoa, 20.Nguyet, 28.Do Thi Thu Trang, 27.Duong Thi Danh (gk), 28.Ngoc
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil