The threat of being knocked out of the Women’s Asian Cup due to an outbreak of COVID-19 rather than on the football pitch is of no concern to the Matildas camp.
Host India were forced to pull out of the tournament on Sunday after they were unable to field an in-form 13-man squad for their Group A match against Taiwan.
Australia’s opponents in their second group match on Monday, the Philippines, also faced an outbreak in their squad and had several players unavailable for the 4-0 loss to the Matildas in Mumbai.
Philippines coach Alen Stajcic called COVID-19 an ‘invisible enemy’ after the loss, but Australia midfielder Emily van Egmond says India’s fate hasn’t changed the protocols of the team nor raised fears that their tournament would suddenly end the same way.
“Obviously it’s a pandemic. It’s spread all over the world, but we have the best protocols in place to keep us safe,” van Egmond said.
“We have a tight-knit bubble. We know we’re making sure we’re doing everything we can to make sure we’re all healthy and able to do our part for the team and that’s a credit to our staff. medical.
“The only goal for us is football. We are here to perform, we are here to do a job.”
Van Egmond scored his fourth goal of the tournament in victory over former Matildas coach Stajcic’s resilient Philippines side, which held the much-loved Aussies scoreless in the first half.
The 28-year-old scored Australia’s third goal after captain Sam Kerr and an own goal broke the deadlock before young gun Mary Fowler’s clever finish from the edge of the box at the 88th minute does not freeze the victory.
After winning their first two matches with a combined score of 22-0, Australia have the option to rest key players or expose promising talents such as Cortnee Vine, Remy Siemsen, Kyra Cooney-Cross and Clare Wheeler to more football tournaments. in their last group game against Thailand.
Defenders Alanna Kennedy and Ellie Carpenter could also be ruled out of the game against Thailand given that they are both one booking away from suspension.
Whichever team Tony Gustavsson chooses, van Egmond says the Matildas will be keen to maintain the ruthless attitude displayed in their previous games.
“We have a plan. We want to win against Thailand and have a good statement before these quarter-finals,” she said.
“The most important thing is to have 23 healthy and available players.”