Matildas keep eyes on Olympic prize

Pete Smith
Ante Milicic (right) is demanding excellence in the Matildas' pursuit of Olympic qualification

Australia will not suffer from complacency when they tackle Vietnam on Wednesday as they chase a spot in the women's football tournament at the Tokyo Olympics, despite securing a comprehensive 5-0 first-leg win in Newcastle on Friday.

The Matildas created countless goalscoring opportunities in a largely one-sided contest but had to settle for a Sam Kerr double, plus strikes from Chloe Logarzo, Emily van Egmond and Clare Polkinghorne.

Australia have won all eight previous matches against Vietnam, and have yet to concede a single goal.

But despite the overwhelming historical supremacy and substantial first-leg victory margin, coach Ante Milicic refuses to accept anything other full focus given the rich prize on offer.

"We know that when you go to Asia in these return legs, they are very difficult," Milicic said.

"I have been away with many different national teams of all age groups, and understand that with the conditions, the field, referees, the field, travel, it is never easy.

"(The result) puts us in a good position to go to Vietnam, to look to attack, look to score first and make it difficult for our opponent."

Australia are chasing a second successive qualification, having fallen narrowly short of the medal-round at Rio 2016 following a heartbreaking penalty shoot-out defeat against hosts Brazil.

Milicic was non-committal about changes to the line-up, saying he would assess all players over the coming days.

The only injury concern surrounds Logarzo with the midfielder nursing an injured knee.

Logarzo is one of five players who made the long trip from Europe last weekend, before another full day of travel to reach Vietnam.

Two of that quintet - star forwards Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord who both recently moved to the UK - said they were fatigued in the final stage of the match against Vietnam.

"Personally I didn't feel great (at the end)," said Foord.

"Obviously it is something new for us, but it is something we are going to have to get used to and it was a short turnaround.

"Five days is plenty of time (to recover) so I think will be fine (for the second leg)."

Vietnam coach Mai Duc Chung said his side "will still play the same way" in Cam Pha on Wednesday, while Milicic said his side will continue to attack at every opportunity.

"It is important we go there and look to score and look to attack," he said.

"If they have to alter their game plan that is a big shift for them, and that is what we intend to (achieve) by keep on playing our style."

After the men's team qualified in January, victory for the Matildas will mark the first time two Australian teams have featured at the Olympic football tournaments since 2004.