So very late last night in China, well 10.30pm Australian time, Australia kicked off its campaign to qualify for the under-17 FIFA Women's World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago. And they kicked it off in some sort of style with an impressive 4-0 win over China.
Newcastle Jets striker Tara Andrews claimed all four goals in the win, scoring in the 18th, 58th, 63rd and then 87th minute. Australia must finish in the top-three at this tournament to qualify and so that win, is a very very good start. Well done girls! Full match report up at the official AFC website here.
*And now updated with the official FFA match report is out. Details and everything thanks to the FFA below.
The Westfield Australia U16 Women’s team has started off with a commanding performance against China in the opening game of the AFC U16 Women’s Championships. Australia was quick to engage in the opening few minutes, creating many attacking opportunities.
Tara Andrews opened the scoring in the 18th minute after getting in front of her defender at the near post to be on the end of a free kick whipped in by Stephanie Catley.
Australia continued to dominate the first half with good shape and structure, lead by the midfield trio of Teigen Allen, Alanna Kennedy and Emily Van Egmond. After returning from the break Australia looked to push forward with continuous pressure on the Chinese back four and Andrews was again able to capitalise on these opportunities and extend Australia’s lead in the 58th minute. With Australia pushing forward, Hannah Brewer found herself in the attacking third and was able to deliver a cross into the 18-yard-box for Caitlin Foord to challenge with the Chinese goal keeper. From the resulting challenge Andrews was able to pounce on the ball and produce another clinical finish.
China was unable to break down the Australian back four of Hannah Brewer, Rebekah Stott, Erika Elze and Stephaine Catley. And Cately turned that defensive dominance into a deadly attack when she launched a ball from left back that found Andrews in the box.
With an assured couple of touches, Andrews rounded the keeper to score her hat-trick, all but resigning China to defeat. In the 87th minute Andrews rounded out Australia’s scoring when she found herself on the edge of the 18-yard-box with an advancing Chinese goalkeeper.
With composure that belied her years Andrews was able to keep her composure and neatly chip the advancing keeper.
Australia was unlucky not to finish the match with another goal as they where awarded a penalty in the 89th minute as Caitlin Friend was judged to have been fouled in the area. Emily Van Egmond stepped up to take the resulting penalty only to see her shot rebound of the cross bar.
“It was a great performance from the girls, there’s still a lot of room for improvement but tactically we played very well,” said Head Coach Robbie Hooker.
“The tactics we have been working on over the past months is now paying off. Technically we still have room for improvement but a 4-0 result in our first match of the Asia Cup is a great result.” After a quiet tournament at the AFF ASEAN Cup in Myanmar last month Hooker was delighted with his four-goal striker’s performance, “Tara had a quiet tour in Myanmar due to illness, but today she proved what an asset she is to this team,” Hooker enthused.
“To be given five chances on goal and put four away was very pleasing – for a striker if you’re scoring at that ratio and finishing the way she did you can’t ask for anything more.”
In the other result in Group B, Japan produced an unstoppable performance to down Chinese Taipei 16 – 0 in their opening match.
“Japan looked good – quick, skilful, technically very good,” continued Hooker.
“We have Chinese Taipei next and we will look at giving some of the other players in the squad a run in this match,” finished Hooker.
Australia’s next game is against Chinese Taipei on Saturday 7th November at 4.00pm local at the Supachalasai National Stadium.
Australia 4 (Tara ANDREWS 18’/58’/63’/87’) bt China 0
AFC U16 Women’s Championships
Thursday, 5 November 2009
Local kick-off: 6:30pm (10.30pm AEDT)
Supachalasai National Stadium, Bangkok
Westfield Australia U16 Women’s line-up: Brianna DAVEY (GK), Hannah BREWER, Erika ELZE (c), Samantha KERR (Brittany WHITFIELD 82’), Alanna KENNEDY (Caitlin FRIEND 84’), Stephanie CATLEY, Tara ANDREWS, Emily VAN EGMOND, Rebekah STOTT, Teigen ALLEN, Caitlin FOORD
Substitutes not used: Alexandra HUYNH, Heidi MAKRILLOS, Ruth WALLACE, Amy HIGGINS (GK), Ashlee FAUL, Michaela HATZIRODOS, Sharni BROWN, Candace SCIBERRAS, Madeline SEARL, Elizabeth DURACK (GK).