Lydia Williams taking over as No. 1 | TWG
The Westfield Matildas today take on Korea Republic in the fifth and final match of their 2012 London Olympics qualification campaign
A win for the Westfield Matildas will secure them a minimum third place at the tournament’s end.
“This game’s going to be as difficult as the games against DPR Korea and China,” coach Tom Sermanni. “It’s important that we go out with a positive attitude and focus on the task at hand, just as we did in the match against China.”
One of the stars of the clash against China was goalkeeper Lydia Williams. Williams has been exceptional in the three matches she has gloved in. Good enough to keep out the traditional number one and captain Melissa Barbieri.
“Obviously I was just happy to play at all in the tournament and I didn’t even realise or think that or I guess the possibility of a being number 1,” she said.
“I don’t think it has really sunk in yet and nor should it because you shouldn’t get complacent when you are playing in a competition like this.”
With a superb performance against world champions Japan and several big saves early against China, it’s no wonder the 23 year old is currently full of confidence.
“I am just taking every game, trying my hardest and working as hard as ever.”
“At the end of the day its Tom’s decision who gets to play. I am just trying to be prepared the best I can both physically and mentally.”
2011 has been a big and possibly the best year for Williams. She captained her W-League side to within a penalty kick of the W-League grand final, took out the W-League Goalkeeper of the Year award and played in her first World Cup match against Equatorial Guinea.
Despite that Williams is modest about her improvement and achievements. “I think it’s just about consistency being a goalkeeper and keeping everything consistent.”
“Being a goalkeeper you can only focus on stopping the goals. You can’t help in scoring or anything like that so I guess its good having just that one mindset.”
Currently the task at hand is qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games. Heading into the final match, the Matildas currently sit in third position with a slim chance of finishing second and qualifying for the Olympics.
However, it would require them defeating Korea Republic and for Thailand, who have lost all four of their matches, to defeat DPR Korea.
“Obviously we are feeling really good after coming away with a win against China so there is still a chance for us to go away to the Olympics.”
“We are doing all we can, making sure that we recover properly and give us the best shot for the final game.”
With five games in 11 days in humid and at times hot Chinese conditions, the physical toll is starting to appear.
Striker Kyah Simon will miss the clash after sustaining an ankle injury last game and Caitlin Foord will also be unavailable. Meanwhile Sarah Walsh and Sally Shipard could return despite not being 100%.
“I guess it’s a bit hard relying on other results to go your way,” says Williams. “What’s important for us is that we end this tournament on a high.”
“It’s our last game and we want to end on a high. It will just be everyone putting in 100% for the whole entire game and making sure we do all we can to get the three points.”
Heading into the final match, Japan leads the group on 10 points and DPR Korea sits second with on eight points.
ABC1 will show highlights of the Westfield Matildas’ match against Korea Republic at 11.35pm on Monday, 12 September.
Westfield Matildas v Korea Republic
Sunday 11 September 2011
Shandong Sports Centre
Local kick-off: 15.30 (17.00 AEST)
Head-to-Head: P13: W8-D2-L3
Westfield Matildas line-up: Lydia WILLIAMS (gk), Teigan ALLEN, Laura ALLEWAY, Servet UZUNLAR, Kim CARROLL, Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT, Aivi LUIK, Emily VAN EGMOND, Clare POLKINGHORNE, Heather GARRIOCK, Michelle HEYMAN