The standouts tonight were Emily van Egmond, Aivi Luik and Kyah Simon and that's important. These are three of the most experienced players - whether in club football or national caps - in the Matildas squad but they're also three who have faced significant challenges throughout their career.

To start with hat-trick hero van Egmond, the Aussie midfielder has had a difficult couple of years at both W-League and national level.

Her form has been criticised at times, Newcastle Jets had been a rollercoaster club, and without ever truly dipping out of the national team, she had begun to lose her role as a bona fide Matildas star to what we know as the current WSL generation.

But she is so important to this team when she's in form. Powerful, athletic, extremely confident, technically skilled and with a wickedly powerful shot, she has every attribute so desired in the female game.

She has football running through her blood and there's no doubt that if she keeps up this vein of form, she'll be starring in Europe with the best of them. The last two Matildas matches have been her statement. Van Egmond is back.

We spoke about Simon after Chinese Taipei and her amazing comeback following the injury struggles she's faced, but the striker was equally demonstrative tonight. Suddenly she seems integral to the Matildas forward line, her experience so valuable, her ability to drop deep and command attacks nothing short of incredible.

Luik's addition was equally impressive. Only her 25th cap - in part due to an under the radar career largely spent traversing the world - the midfield maestro now offers a level of stability in that pivot that we normally receive from Elise Kellond-Knight.

But she also adds a phenomenally cool passing ability and she has the tactical knowledge to implement this style against varying set ups and approaches. She's a calming influence on the side and when we barely lost possession in that second half, Luik was key.


We're certainly entertaining, but the theory goes that to be a truly great team, you need to be able to execute a high tempo whenever necessary.

World Cup winners and Olympic champions command matches against lower ranked sides with ease, not because they have more talent than us, but because they're able to always exercise that talent to the required extent.

We've seen against packed, well organised defences that the Matildas aren't quite yet capable of this and tonight was another example. We spent 40 minutes slightly inside ourselves.

Ellie Carpenter was hesitant to bomb past her marker, Emily van Egmond was reluctant to go straight for those piercing crosses. Simon just wasn't quite ready to take the ball in the forward third and fire a shot on goal.

Part of the issue was Thailand's incredibly effective block, which tired as the match wore on. But another factor is we still seem a little timid at times. We played this match at serious pace and everyone knows we have high-quality players, but they still lack the confidence, the impetus and the desperation at times.

As fans will have noticed, it's not actually timid individual performances that have the greatest impact, it's the way this nervousness runs through the team when we're attacking. How many times did we work our way into dangerous positions in that first half just to either skew the shot, or more often, over or under hit that final pass?

Credit to Ante Milicic, after his half-time team talk we exploded and played phenomenal football.

But when we see a level of timidity in a world class team, that we almost never saw in the semi-professional days of Sarah Walsh and Cheryl Salisbury, we have to ask ourselves why these icons aren't more heavily involved.

Why aren't there more former Matildas in the Australian coaching set up? With Heather Garriock leaving Canberra United and Ash Wilson handing the reigns at Newcastle Jets back to Craig Deans, why on earth is there not a single woman set to coach in the W-League?

Why haven't more been encouraged to take up coaching badges or provide various technical support roles? What a sad indictment that is.

We look like we could really benefit from a greater focus on our passing in that final third, as it's the major weakness preventing us from beating the world's best teams.

But when we talk about consistency, a lack of visible, inspiring, passionate role models may be part of the problem. 


Now for the fun part!

We've seen most of our squad get serious minutes over the course of two games and next we face the most important game in the group: 15th in the world China who have made no qualms about smashing everything in their path so far.

Milicic is going to play his strongest squad and he's going to hold on to this 4-3-3 formation, so who does he play?

Alanna Kennedy actually didn't get much chance to impress tonight, bar a couple of attacking opportunities that she couldn't make the most of. On the other hand, Jenna McCormick somehow managed to still have a blinder despite only touching the ball a few times.

Our opinion is that McCormick is slowly working her way into that first choice eleven but isn't quite there yet. She's agile, mobile, physical, but against a world class tactical team she can be exploited slightly easier than Kennedy and Polkinghorne.

This then creates issues as neither of our two first choice centrebacks are as mobile, however for the time being, we predict Milicic runs Polks and Kennedy as centrehalves. This probably won't last long though.

Carpenter is a shoe in on the right flank, Steph Catley will return on the left. Karly Roestbakken was solid yet unspectacular tonight. Lydia Williams will play in goal by default.

The Luik, Kellond-Knight battle will be interesting. In theory, Luik was too instrumental tonight to lose her place, but considering Milicic will want Australia to attack, he won't play them both. Our bet is Kellond-Knight gets the go ahead.

Katrina Gorry didn't show enough tonight despite a strong performance against Chinese Taipei. Van Egmond will partner Simon in that slightly deeper attacking role, with Chloe Logarzo kept on the bench.

Hayley Raso, Sam Kerr, Caitlin Foord up front. Logarzo and Emily Gielnik the two most likely attacking additions off the bench.

Pwoah, watch out China.


3 Things We Learned: Matildas vs Thailand

As the Matildas run rampant again, slotting six past a shellshocked Thailand side, we ruminate over what's great and what's lacking.


Matildas Player Ratings vs Thailand

Wondering who's going to play for the Matildas in our massive match up against China? Look no further than our player ratings from their 6-0 demolition job on Thailand.


'I honestly don't care': Van Egmond only here for one reason

Emily van Egmond was beaming after putting in once of her best ever Matildas displays and scoring her maiden international hat-trick. But that's not why she dons the green and gold.


Old predators re-emerge as Matildas maul Thailand

The Matildas have secured a spot in the final round of women's qualifiers for Tokyo 2020, thumping Thailand in Sydney courtesy of an Emily Van Egmond hat-trick.


On fire Matildas veteran 'doesn't really know' her best position

She still doesn't know which position she prefers, but Kyah Simon was grinning from ear to ear after continuing her Matildas resurgence with a brace in their 6-0 battering of Thailand.


Matildas Social Wrap: 'Matilads' 'Matilda's' and Mum & Daughter Moments

The Matildas expressed their elation following their 6-0 win over Thailand, but they couldn't match the emotions of a few very proud parents.