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Three Burning Questions: Matildas v Jamaica

by Ben Somerford on Jun 18, 2019

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The Matildas will book their last 16 spot at the 2019 Women’s World Cup with victory against Jamaica but the various scenarios are endless.

Believe it or not, Australia can still finish anywhere from first to fourth in Group C.

The Matildas are expected to be too good for the 53rd ranked Reggae Girlz, who’ve struggled in France with 3-0 and 5-0 defeats so far.

With Italy and Brazil meeting simultaneously from 5am AEST on Wednesday morning, there’s no end of potential outcomes.

Coach Ante Milicic will stress nothing less than victory will suffice, and a heavy win will ensure everything else takes care of itself.

GGArmy’s Ben Somerford asks three burning questions ahead of the match.

Can we progress?

An Australia victory will be enough to progress to the knockout stages, although that could be in first, second or third spot. Goal difference and the other result will decide.

If Australia win and finish third, there’s no way they couldn’t finish as one of the top four ranked third-place getters and progress, so rest easy on that front.

But finishing third will likely bring a tough last 16 opponent and Australia will want to avoid that, thus chasing goal difference.

If Australia win heavily and Brazil beat Italy narrowly in the other game, the Matildas could still top the group and face a ‘soft’ last 16 draw. Runners-up looms most likely. Any Italy result, means they'll finish top.

Who starts?
Clare Polkinghorne and Tameka Yallop have been ruled out of the starting XI, while Milicic is pondering whether to gamble by rotating his squad with a long-term view given the quality of Jamaica, even if they’ve not ‘officially’ qualified for the last 16 yet. It’s a tricky one.

Chloe Logarzo and Elise Kellond-Knight both came into this World Cup without much game-time and conditioning, so their roles may vary. Hayley Raso may also push to return to the starting XI, with Emily Gielnik at risk.

Milicic may also consider the importance of goal difference, possibly offering up a starting opportunity for Lisa de Vanna, which would be her 150th cap.

If we progress, who next?
Without getting ahead of ourselves, it’s worth pondering this question. If Australia finishes third, we will likely play either hosts France or world number two Germany in Le Havre or Grenoble. Ouch!

If we finish runners-up, we’ll face the Group A runners-up, likely Norway, in Nice on June 22. Nigeria and South Korea are in the mix too. Norway is without Women’s Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg in protest at the state of women’s pay in football.

If we somehow top the group, we’ll play the third place getters in either Group A, B or F in Montpellier on June 25, offering time for a good rest. That opponent could be anyone from Nigeria, Korea, Spain, China, Chile or a few more (pending overnight results). Clearly, that’s the easiest route.