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Matildas on brink of Rio qualification, boost for Australian women’s game

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Nanjing Night Net

If he carries on like this, Matildas coach Alen Stajcic will soon be able to rival Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou for popularity.

The 42-year-old has guided the Matildas to a perfect three wins out of three matches in their opening games in the Asian qualifying tournament for the Rio Olympics, and Australia, following its 2-0 win over South Korea in the game on Friday night, is now in the box seat to take one of the two positions available for Asian nations.

With two matches to go Australia is almost there, with nine points and a massive goal difference of plus 13.

But arguably the two toughest tests, against North Korea and China, still loom on Sunday and Tuesday.

Avoid defeat in just one of those two matches and the Australians can start packing their bags for Brazil.

With each nation now having played three games Australia cannot be caught by the disappointing hosts, Japan, nor South Korea or strugglers Vietnam.

Japan, with just a solitary point from a draw with South Korea, has been a huge failure in front of its own fans. The team that last year reached the final of the Women’s World Cup cannot now hope to qualify for Brazil.

The Matildas could still slip up, but they would have to be either very unlucky or negligent to do so.

If they lose both their games they would finish on nine points.

China would, if they defeat the South Koreans on Monday  and the Matildas in the final fixture, end up with 13.

North Korea needs to beat both the Matildas on Monday and then hosts Japan on Wednesday to get 11 points.

If that scenario played out Australia would finish only third.

Simply avoiding defeat against the North Koreans in the penultimate fixture would put Stajcic’s team through: that would give them 10 points, and then the only nation that could equal or better that would be China.

Getting to this point is a major feather in the players’ cap, and a huge boost for Stajcic.

The New South Welshman was a player in the NSW Premier League and an Australian school International before injury cut short his career early.

He is the only senior Australian coach to have guided an Australian team to a knockout phase win in the World Cup, having taken the Matildas to the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cup last year.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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