The Junior Matildas have failed to progress to the 2020 U/17 World Cup, with their fate now sealed after a

But there's a lot that's going to have to improve if we're going to stand a realistic chance against China or Japan and a few bragging rights in the third-placed playoff.

Here's our slightly gloomy forecast after a sunny day in Thailand.


The second half showed her acumen as a motivator, but unfortunately Rae Dower, who has proven herself a dedicated and proficient coach at this level, needs to cop a little flack for that first half performance.

The approach was stunted - we relied heavily on hit-and-hopes out wide, were alternately over-aggressive and scared to press, and worst of all, seemed to succumb to our frustrations as early as 20 minutes in.

It's hard to judge too harshly as North Korea are the most successful team in the world at U/17 level, but our formation wasn't tailored to our relative strengths and actually exacerbated our weaknesses.


It all comes down to this, really.

The players have to take accountability, because the lack of passing accuracy, poise on the ball and general tactical vision are issues Dower has spoken about and for all accounts has been trying to drill into the girls.

Perhaps a new approach is needed. Alana Jancevski wasn't able to hurt the Koreans with her pace and at this level, our technical ability is going to be outmatched by many opponents.

If we're going to play a quick-moving style, the spaces between the lines have to be narrower, because it seems like we're struggling to develop with a strategy that sees us constantly having to readjust, cover large gaps in behind our fullbacks and chase our tails in the midfield.

On a bright note, the ability of the girls to marshall the offside trap was particularly impressive and a credit to both the defensive line and Dower's training.


Let's finish on a high note because Mirana Templeman's performance between the sticks definitely deserves one. The damage at half-time would have been considerably worse than 2-0 had Templeman's shot-stopping skills and prodigious work ethic not kept the Juniors in the match.

Her positioning and reaction times are both world class and she has a big leap on her, meaning when that growth-spurt finishes and she can truly match it with the big guns in the W-League (and beyond) we'll have another cracking keeper in our midst.

Just gotta work on those goal-kicks! Can't give 'em a big head now can we.