MATILDAS boss Alen Stajcic won’t buy into the debate Japan will be troubled by fatigue and the forecast 31C in Edmonton for the quarter-final of the FIFA women’s World Cup on Sunday.
Japan set up a meeting with the Matildas after seeing off the Netherlands 2-1 in the round of 16 clash in Vancouver.
The reigning World Cup champion has 48 hours less recovery time to prepare for the knockout clash after Australia beat Brazil 1-0 in Moncton on Monday.
Edmonton’s higher than average summer maximum temperature on Saturday afternoon (Sunday in Australia) shouldn’t worry the reigning World Cup champion Stajcic said.
He claimed Australia won’t underestimate what they’re up against saying Japan’s ageing stars Homare Sawa, 37, and skipper Aya Miyama, 30, who have 356 caps between them will definitely last the distance against the younger Matildas.
Australia last met Japan in the 2014 AFC Asian Cup final losing 1-0 in typically steamy Ho Chi Minh City conditions after a 2-2 draw with the Nadeshiko in the group stage of the Vietnam tournament.
Stajcic was in charge as an interim coach last year having less than a month to prepared his side before falling at the final Asian Cup hurdle.
“If you recall last year’s Asian Cup final we played them two or three days after they played extra time (against China 2-1),’’ Stajcic said.
“Maybe they lost a little bit of petrol late in that final in the 80th to the 90th minute but they certainly were full of running in that game and that was in 36C or 37C heat in Vietnam.
“But we’re a much better team on and off the field (than last year).”
Japan’s Saori Ariyoshi’s 10th minute strike and a brilliant goal from Mizuho Sakaguchi 12 minutes from time was what it took to end the Dutch hopes on Canada’s west coast before Kirsten van de Ven. bagged a consolation goal for the Netherlands in stoppage time.
But it won’t be an easy match for the Matildas on Sunday against FIFA’s fourth ranked nation after Australia took a five hour flight from Moncton, crossing three time zones before landing in Edmonton on Tuesday.
Japan’s expected 70 minute flight on Thursday and one hour time change in Edmonton shouldn’t cause too much distress for the world champion.