Coach Tony Gustavsson is warning the Matildas against complacency after Saturday’s big win over Sweden as the Australians hope to defy their history of starting slowly against Thailand.
The 4-0 win over world No. 2 Sweden was perhaps the most memorable of Gustavsson’s tenure to date and will have the Matildas riding high ahead of Tuesday’s match at Central Coast Stadium.
Australia, ranked 13th in the world, will finish the year against No. 41 Thailand but Gustavsson is urging the Matildas not to take their rivals lightly, despite the gulf between the sides on paper.
“Obviously it was a very good feeling after the game (against Sweden) and we enjoyed that victory,” Gustavsson said.
“Today, the challenge is – can we get our mindset right for tomorrow and not be complacent? We need to show up tomorrow.”
In an effort to keep his side grounded, Gustavsson ran the Matildas through their last three matches against Thailand.
Australia won all three, most recently overcoming the Thais 2-1 in the group stage at this year’s Asia Cup, but started slowly each time.
In the two most recent meetings, it took the Matildas 44 minutes and 39 minutes to open the scoring, while in the clash before that, the scores were level at half-time.
“We struggled to get it going in all those three games, so the challenge that we’ve given ourselves for tomorrow is, can we start off fast?” Gustavsson said.
“I would love to see us flying from the beginning with that mindset we had against Sweden.
“What can tend to happen when you play a well-organised team like Thailand and there’s less space is that you stop running. We’re a running team and we need to run tomorrow.”
Defender Alanna Kennedy remains sidelined with a shoulder injury but midfielder Alex Chidiac is in the frame to make her return from the casualty ward.
“She trained fully today,” Gustavsson said.
“We’re going to evaluate her tonight and then I’m going to get updates to see if and how many minutes she could be available for.”