Fitness 'gap' challenge for World Cup-primed Matildas
Matildas boss Tony Gustavsson concedes they face a fitness headache as some players stare down a three-month competitive break before the July World Cup.
After a 3-0 win against Jamaica sealed the Cup of Nations trophy for the Australians, some players, including Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord, were straight back en route back to European or American competitions that don't wrap until late May.
Goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold, who all but confirmed her place in the World Cup squad after winning the Cup of Nations player of the tournament, will also return to keep for West Ham.
However, some players, including Cortnee Vine and Clare Hunt, will remain on home soil and see out the A-League Women competition - set to finish in April.
Gustavsson, who oversaw a seventh straight win for the in-form side on Wednesday, admitted it would be a challenge to keep all players in top shape.
"What do we do with the players that finish the leagues earlier, how can we make sure we cover that gap?" Gustavsson said.
"We are looking into what those situations can look like because it's a massively important part of our preparation for the World Cup."
The Matildas had an impressive undefeated streak during the friendly tournament, cementing the side as solid international contenders after defeating Jamaica and the Czech Republic with clean sheets and Spain 3-2.
Hunt, Arnold and Alex Chidiac stood out, with the latter bursting onto the field in the second half of the Jamaican game to score her first goal of the tournament.
Chidiac didn't make the World Cup squad after the 2019 Cup of Nations win, but the 24-year-old is hoping her stellar Wednesday night performance could mean a different fate.
"I just want to represent my country in the best way possible," she said.
"I'm definitely pushing for that starting spot, but whatever role (Gustavsson) needs me to play in this team, as long as I'm here and I'm able to make that impact, that's all that matters."
The Matildas' next friendly World Cup warm-up will be against England on April 11.