The Matildas will be facing a hostile crowd when they take on Brazil in the quarter final of the women's football at the Rio Olympics but Australian co-captain Lisa De Vanna says the pressure is on the home team.
The Matildas are poised for the biggest game in their history when they take on Brazil at Mineirão - the same stadium where the Brazilian men’s team suffered a 7-1 drubbing to Germany at the semi-final of the 2014 World Cup.
At last year’s Women’s World Cup Australian beat Brazil at the Round of 16 to secure a historic win – the first side by an Australian team at the knockout stage of a world championships.
Come Friday night around midnight local time (play starts Saturday 11am AEST) when the 90 minutes is up the Aussies will hope history will have repeated twice.
“If anything the pressure is on the home team not us,” De Vanna said.
“I honestly believe that if we go out with the mentality that we did against the top nations like Japan, Germany and the US and Brazil last year and bring that into Friday night’s game I honestly believe that we will go through.”
A win for the Australians would put them into the final four at an Olympics and just thinking about that possibillity has De Vanna finsding it hard to hold back her excitement.
“Ohh, I just don’t even want to think about it,” she said. “Just the thought of just making it for the first time ever in the semi-finals, its massive. Knowing that your one game away from winning a medal you just can’t believe - if we win Friday we are playing off for a medal.
“It’s something that you dream about, you think about, you wish about and now you are actually in a moment to win something. I try not to let it overwhelm me because it’s still a dream at the moment. I want it to be more of a reality, so I’ll just a focus on the first game and get that win and once we get that win then enjoy the moment and start all over again for the semi-finals.”
At the 2004 Athens Olympics the Matildas were knocked out of the quarter finals in a 2-1 loss to Sweden in which De Vanna scored. Back then the Aussies played in front of a crowd of under 5,000 people but it will be a different story on Friday Night in Belo Horizonte.
This time the Mineirão will be filled to capacity and the Matildas co-captain says the Aussies will be aiming to turn a potential crowd over 50,000 parochial screaming home over fans to their side.
“It’s a different kind of crowd when we play against Brazil,” she said. “They will be a bit more verbal a bit more bullying, but if we play good football and they see how well we play they will appreciate it even though it’s the home side.
“If we get a good result and we play good football, I actually think we’ll probably win a lot of Brazilian hearts over.”