Matildas midfielder Emily van Egmond is not discounting the threat of the Canadians ahead the Aussies opening group game at the Rio Olympics
Ahead of the Matildas opening game against Canada at the Rio Olympics, Matildas midfielder Emily Van Egmond says the Aussies are ready for the challenge that Canada will provide on Wednesday (Thursday 4am AEST)
The Aussies kick off their Olympic campaign in Sao Paolo - the home of 2015 Brazilian club champions Corinthians. The setting is far from the glitz and glamour of Rio where in few days the opening ceremony of the XXXI Olympiad will take place.
The Canadians (10th) may be ranked below the Australians (5th) but Van Egmond says the Canucks will offer the Australians a test in their forstt game of the women's football tournament.
“It’s going to be a difficult one,” she said. “I know they are a very good team. They are a physical team and they are quite a dominant team on set pieces. It’s going to be good game; it’s going to be a challenge but it’s one that we are definitely up for.
“I’ve only ever played them once in a friendly game in Cyprus but from what I’ve seen they are a good team. We go into every game feeling confident, with the talent we have in this group there is no reason why we shouldn’t.”
The Matildas have been on an upward trajectory with regards to their results in tournament play. Their history making feats at the 2015 World Cup and in the Olympic qualifiers have seen the team reach new heights but Van Egmond denied the team has reached their peak yet.
“We’ve had a bit of success with the team but I feel we’ve still a lot more to offer,” she said. “We are a young team, we’ve got a lot of potential, we’ve got a lot of talent and I think it’s only on the way up from here.
“If we can take certain things away from the form that we had in Japan and put that into the tournament here in Brazil I don’t see why we shouldn’t be successful here. So I think it’s just more about staying grounded and doing the simple things and playing well as a team which is what is going to really help us progress out of that group stage.”
The Canadians spent time in Rio before only recently arriving in Sao Paolo while the Matildas have been acclimatising to the South America country for past three weeks. Subsequently Van Egmond says that time together has the Aussies well prepared.
“We are in tournament mode,” she said. "So everyone is knuckling down and getting ready for that first game.
“Being in Brazil all this time has definitely helped getting rid of that jet lag and getting a feel of the country and the football culture has been really good. We are coming up to the end part now of our preparation and we are looking to get the final touches in and see what we have to do against Canada in that first game. It’s definitely going to be an important game for us if we are to progress in our group.”
Canada v Australia
Arena Corinthians, São Paulo
Wednesday, 3 August
Kick off 3pm (Thursday, 4 August 4am AEST)
Germany v Australia
Arena Corinthians, São Paulo
Saturday, 6 August
Kick off 6pm (Sunday, 7 August 7am AEST)
Australia v Zimbabwe
Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador
Tuesday, 9 August
Kick off 4pm (Wednesday, 10 August 5am AEST)