December 3, 2001
Matildas to play South Korea in Australia Cup
South Korea will be the Matildas' opponent for the 4th Australia Cup next month which will be held in country centers in south-western NSW and Victoria.
Wagga Wagga and Albury are two of the venues for the three-test series. New National Coach Adrian Santrac, Matildas Julie Murray and Kate McShea, and WSA Chief Executive Warren Fisher launched the event today on location in both centers. Bendigo will be confirmed as the third host in a launch there tomorrow.
It will be the first time soccer internationals have been played in these cities. The event will open in Wagga Wagga on January 13th., then move to Albury for match two on January 16th., finishing in Bendigo on Saturday January 19th.
Mr Fisher said, "The development of girls' soccer in country areas in recent years has been astonishing. If our sport is serious about harnessing this participation growth and inspiring young girls to represent the Matildas, we have an obligation to put our best athletes on show in country areas."
Fisher added, "While only two of the 20 athletes at the 1995 FIFA Women's World Cup were born outside capital cities, more than half of the 22 players on our current Junior Matildas squad are from regional and country areas."
The Matildas defend the trophy having beaten France this year in Coffs Harbour, Lismore and the Gold Coast. The Australia Cup has previously been held in Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.
The nine matches played in the first three Australia Cups attracted an average crowd of 3,250 fans with North Sydney Oval (6,942) and Coffs Harbour (5,118) holding the records.
South Korea are currently in Taiwan to compete in the 14-nation Asian Championship where they hope to make the semifinals. They gained valuable experience playing against some of the best in the world in the prestigious 1999 and 2000 US Women's Cups. Earlier this year, they recorded their first ever tournament win, unbeaten in their home event, the Toto Women's Cup. Although the three opposing world superpowers China, Brazil and Japan fielded many youth players, the results are still proof of the Koreans' recent improvement.
This will be South Korea's first visit to Australia. The two countries have twice met previously, both matches part of the 1996 Tri-Series in Auckland, with Australia and the Koreans winning one game each.