Matildas target top-three world ranking

Tameka Butt, Elise Kellond-Knight and Emily van Egmond in action at training at Morshead Park. Picture: Kate Healy.

Tameka Butt, Elise Kellond-Knight and Emily van Egmond in action at training at Morshead Park. Picture: Kate Healy.

THE Matildas broke new ground when they forced their way into the top five in the world senior women’s soccer rankings.

They jumped four places to reach their highest ever ranking after a dominant Olympic Games qualifying campaign.

Only world champion the United States, Germany, France and England are above them.

However, the Matildas have no plans to sit back and accept this as enough.

Head coach Alen Stajcic told The Courier after a training session at the Ballarat Regional Football Facility on Wednesday that while this had been a break through, the Matildas were far from satisfied.

“We’re not happy with that. 

“We striving for top three.”

This means the Matildas need a big performance at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Stajcic said the upcoming two-match series against New Zealand –  game one is in Ballarat on Saturday – would enable him to fine tune the Matildas game plan as well determining the final 18-strong squad.

He said NZ, which also trained in Ballarat on Wednesday,  always provided stiff opposition.

Stajcic reinforced the importance of this week’s training camp in Ballarat.

He said it had taken a few overseas-based players a few days to get over jetlag, but it was all coming to gether well.

“It’s a luxury to have everyone together.

“Everyone’s in good order.”

Stajcic put his 20-player squad through a solid 90-minute training session at Morshead Park on Wednesday, with the focus of match-day tactics and the style of play he wanted.

He again made a call to the Ballarat community to support the Matildas by attending Saturday’s match in big numbers.