The Matildas will resist the lure of playing it safe in their decisive Women’s World Cup group match with Sweden on Wednesday morning (AEST).
Australia can still finish anywhere from top to bottom in the “group of death” in Canada, with a draw almost certainly sending the Matildas into the round of 16.
But defender Alanna Kennedy said off the back of their morale-boosting 2-0 win over Nigeria on Saturday (AEST), the Matildas wouldn’t be playing for a draw.
The Matildas know only one way, and that’s to go for the jugular.
With Lisa De Vanna in sparkling form and Kyah Simon at the double against Nigeria, Australia are banking their World Cup hopes on another fine attacking display.
The offensive style wowed tournament favourites United States for a half and got the job done against the African champions – so Kennedy says they’ll be holding true to their attacking nature.
“We’re looking to stick to the plan,” Kennedy said.
“We’re really happy with our game against Nigeria and we got a lot of confidence from that.
“We’ll still be looking forward to go forward and score as many goals as we can.”
In co-captain Clark Polkinghorne’s absence, Kennedy helped form an admirable rearguard that kept Nigeria at bay.
Against the well-organised Swedes, with draws from their opening two matches, Kennedy said the Australian defence would be key.
“Sweden have a lot of attacking flair,” she said.
“If our defence can hold it out, up the other end will take care of itself.
“We’ve got a great attacking team, it’ll be a great game to watch.”
The 24-team tournament’s complicated system to decide 16 qualifiers for the knockout round means predicting a Matildas opponent in the next phase, should they get there, is difficult.
The top two in each group progress with the four best third-place finishers in each of the six groups.
Should they finish second, as likely with a win or a draw, the Matildas will face Brazil.
But if they were to slip to third place and still qualify, they’d face a group winner – possibly hosts Canada or powerhouses Germany.
Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams says the many permutations suggest they should just play hard and embrace whatever challenges come their way.
“We’re already in a really hard group so we might as well keep the theme going,” she said.
“You want to play the best teams in the world and you want to get the results that you can.”