The Westfield Matildas have booked their place for the women’s football tournament at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after defeating Vietnam 2-1 at Cẩm Phả Stadium on Wednesday night.
Six Melbourne City FC stars played a vital role in the qualification process, with Lydia Williams, Steph Catley, Emily van Egmond, Ellie Carpenter, Kyah Simon and Aivi Luik all in the Australian squad.
Head Coach Ante Milicic’s side took a 2-0 lead into the break after City skipper Steph Catley found Sam Kerr with a delightful assist for the opener before Hayley Raso doubled the advantage. Vietnam came out fighting in the second half and made it 2-1 when they capitalised on a defensive error but the Matildas held first to ensure they would progress with a 7-1 aggregate win.
Milicic praised his side’s performances and conduct throughout the last six weeks of the extended qualification campaign.
“I’m delighted for the girls. They have deserved it,” Milicic said. “They worked ever so hard for the majority of the game tonight.”
“It’s been a long journey with a lot of different scenarios thrown up, a lot of changes in timetables. Even tonight was never going to be easy coming here, on this pitch, without the crowd, the lights going off, with the 5-0 advantage from the first game.”
“Over the two legs, we were the much better side, so congratulations to the girls and the staff and they are looking forward to going to a major tournament.”
The Westfield Matildas join the Olyroos on their way to Tokyo following their successful qualification in January, it will be the first time Australia is represented in football by both the men’s and women’s fixtures since Athens 2004.
City’s stars will return to Melbourne ahead of Sunday’s semi final with Western Sydney Wanderers at ABD Stadium.