Australian coach remains positive despite defeat to US

Montreal, June 10 (IANS) Australia football coach Alen Stajcic remains upbeat about his team’s chances of advancing to the next round of the Women’s World Cup despite their 1-3 loss to the United States.

Stajcic said on Tuesday that though he was disappointed with the defeat, Australia could still escape what local media has dubbed the “group of death”, reports Xinhua.

“Obviously (we are) very disappointed with the result. I thought the performance was quite good in patches. We certainly had plenty of chances, especially in the first half,” Stajcic said.

“There’s a lot of football still to be played, it’s just one game. You’ve got to regroup, see how everyone’s health is and certainly you’re going to see another big performance from Australia in the next round.”

The loss was compounded by news that co-captain Lisa de Vanna was in serious doubt for their next match against Nigeria on June 12 after she suffered an ankle injury in the loss to the US and had to be helped off the field. That would mean Australia could be without both co-captains as Clare Polkinghorne is still recovering from a hamstring injury which she suffered during training on Friday.

De Vanna was the sole goal scorer in her 100th international match and the milestone matches Australian men’s footballer Tim Cahill’s record of scoring in three consecutive World Cups.

They were dealt a tough group stage for the World Cup with matches against powerhouses USA, Sweden and Nigeria. The US is the favourite to win the tournament, closely followed by Germany, while Sweden is another favourite to take home the silverware.

Currently at the bottom of the standings after Nigeria and Sweden fought out a 3-3 draw, Australia will probably have to win both of their remaining group matches to advance to the next stage. De Vanna said she would be doing everything she could to make sure she could take to the field against Nigeria on Friday.

“It was the ankle I broke a couple of years ago so it’s not the strongest ankle at the moment. I’ll make sure it’s okay, it’s all in my head,” she said.

Australia will face Nigeria in Winnipeg on June 12 and Sweden in Edmonton on June 16.

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