It’s been a long time since the Young Matildas have qualified for a FIFA U20s World Cup.
At the end of this month, the Young Matildas travel to Thailand on a quest for that elusive qualification, where they will contest the AFC U19 Women’s Championship tournament which rewards the top three teams with World Cup qualification.
One of the players who will be part of the Young Matildas 23-player squad helping them in that quest, is 18-year-old Sydney FC and Sydney Olympic defender Angelique Hristodoulou.
For Hristodoulou, it will be her second AFC Women’s Championship tournament, having captained the Australian U17 national team squad at the 2017 AFC U16 Women’s Championships.
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The Young Matildas will compete in the upcoming AFC U19 Women’s Championships tournament as one of eight teams, divided into two groups of four. Australia’s group A opponents will be DPR Korea, Thailand and Vietnam, whilst the four teams in Group B are Japan, China, South Korea and Myanmar. The top two teams in each group progress to the semi-finals and the top three of the semi-finalists qualify for next year’s U20 World Cup.
Young Matildas coach Leah Blayney told Neos Kosmos about the past three weeks spent holding a series of “short but highly beneficial camps” in Sydney.
“These camps have helped the coaching staff finalise our squad for the Asian Championship, which is the most prestigious tournament for females of this age group across our confederation,” Blayney said.
“We believe that with the squad we have going to this tournament we are a strong chance of earning Australia qualification for the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup for the first time since 2006.
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“Many of the players in the squad have had significant Westfield W-League exposure across the nation, while players such as Karly Roestbakken, Mary Fowler, Kyra Cooney-Cross, Princess Ibini, Rachel Lowe, and Courtney Nevin have had varying levels of exposure to the senior Matildas’ set-up, too.”