Your guide to Matildas’ Olympic qualifiers in Perth this week: Everything you need to know

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Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the Matildas’ upcoming Paris Olympics qualifiers in Perth.

The Matildas return to action this week for the first time since their historic run to the semi-finals of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Tony Gustavsson’s side will look to edge one step closer to securing qualification to the upcoming Paris Olympics, when they face Iran, Philippines and Chinese Taipei in Perth over the next week.

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Top spot will guarantee Australia’s passage to the final round of qualifying next February, where they will look to be one of Asia’s two representatives at the upcoming Olympics in France.

Ahead of the action getting underway on Thursday night, here’s everything you need to know.

When are the Matildas playing?

Australia v Iran  
Date: Thursday, 26 October 2023  
Kick-off: 7pm AWST / 10pm AEDT 
Venue: HBF Park, Perth

Philippines v Australia  
Date: Sunday, 29 October 2023  
Kick-off: 3pm AWST / 6pm AEDT 
Venue: Optus Stadium, Perth

Australia v Chinese Taipei  
Date: Wednesday, 1 November 2023  
Kick-off: 7pm AWST / 10pm AEDT 
Venue: HBF Park, Perth

When are the other matches in the Matildas’ group?

Chinese Taipei v Philippines
Date: Thursday, 26 October 2023  
Kick-off: 4pm AWST / 7pm AEDT 
Venue: HBF Park, Perth

Iran v Chinese Taipei
Date: Sunday, 29 October 2023  
Kick-off: 6pm AWST / 9pm AEDT 
Venue: Optus Stadium, Perth

Iran v Philippines  
Date: Wednesday, 1 November 2023  
Kick-off: 3:50pm AWST / 6:50pm AEDT 
Venue: HBF Park, Perth

How can I watch?

All of the Matildas’ Olympic Qualifiers will be broadcast live and free on Network 10, with all the other AFC Olympic Qualifier matches from Perth available on Paramount+.

How does qualifying work?

The Matildas are currently in the Second Round of 2024 AFC Women’s Olympics Qualifiers.

There are 12 teams remaining, that have been split into three groups of four, with the winner of each group progressing to the Third Round.

Those three teams will also be joined by the best second-ranked side from the three groups.

The four remaining sides will play two-legged playoffs in February, with the winner of each advancing to the Paris Olympics in July-August.

However, the sides who progress to these two-legged playoffs are still unsure of how their opponents will be determined.

Here are the three groups in Second Round Qualifying

Group A – Australia, Chinese Taipei, Philippines, Iran

Group B – China, South Korea, Thailand, North Korea

Group C – Japan, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, India

Who has already qualified for the Olympics?

France have already secured qualification by virtue of being the host country.

They are joined by 2022 CONCACAF Champions USA, 2022 Copa America winners Brazil and runners-up Colombia, along with reigning gold medallists Canada, who booked their place in the 2024 games with a 4-2 win (on aggregate) over Jamaica in a two-legged CONCACAF playoff.

Two more sides from Europe will join through the 2023-24 UEFA Women’s Nations League Finals, along with two from Africa and another from Oceania.

Team news

Tony Gustavsson has named a settled squad for the Matildas’ upcoming qualifiers.

Kyah Simon and Aivi Luik are the only two players to drop out of the squad that made it through to the semi-finals of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup squad, with Amy Sayer coming into the side.

Brighton & Hove Albion defender Charlie Rule has been named as a train-on player, but is ineligible to feature in any of the three matches.

Goalkeeper Lydia Williams comes into camp under an injury cloud after coming from the field in Melbourne Victory’s 2-1 loss to Western United on Sunday.

Williams suffered an injury after a mix-up on the goal line led to Western youngster Keiwa Hieda bundling home a stoppage time winner.

Opposition report

World ranking: 63

Iran come into the tournament fresh off topping their group in the first round of qualifying.

The Iranian Lionesses’ defeated Mynamar 1-0, then drew the reverse fixture to secure their passage into the next round. Iran only faced Mynamar due to Bangladesh and Maldives withdrawing on the eve of the First Round of qualifying kicking off.

The world number 63 made history last year when they qualified for their first ever Asian Cup. They held hosts India to a 0-0 draw in their first game in the tournament, but after their withdrawal due to the COVID-19 pandemic, their only point was lost.

Iran at the 2022 Women’s Asian Cup

Iran were eventually knocked out in the group stage after heavy defeats against China and Chinese Taipei.

Goalkeeper Zahra Khajavi is regarded as one of the nation’s greatest ever goalkeepers. In December 2019, she broke the clean sheet record in Iranian football by not conceding a goal in 953 minutes.

Iran squad: Zahra Khajavi, Raha Yazdani, Mina Nafei, Behnaz Taherkhani, Fatemah Shaban, Fatemah Amineh Borazjani, Sepideh Nozhati, Samaneh Chakhandi, Hasti Foroozandah, Golnoosh Khosravi, Fatemeh Adeli, Fatameh Makhdoumi, Shabnam Behest, Afsaneh Chatrenoor, Malika Mohammadi, Zahra Qanbari, Zahra Sabali, Nagin Zandi, Mani Hamoudi, Zainab Abbaspour, Hadith Basat Shir, Muhaddeth Zulfi


World ranking: 44

One of the Matildas’ greatest tests in this round of qualifying will more than likely come from the Philippines.

Las Filipinas come into qualifying fresh off a history-making 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, where Aussie manager Alen Stajcic led the nation to their first-ever appearance at the tournament and a maiden victory – where they beat New Zealand 1-0 – before falling just short of a spot in the Round of 16.

Western United’s Liberty A-League coach Mark Torcaso has since taken over from Stajcic, who departed to take over as head coach of Perth Glory’s men’s side.

Torcaso led the side to a quarter-final berth at the Asian Games in September, where they were smashed 8-1 by eventual champions Japan.

Philippines had already booked their place in this round of qualifying prior to the World Cup getting underway, topping their group after wins over Pakistan, Tajikistan and Hong Kong in April.

Their squad for the upcoming matches includes a host of Liberty A-League talent including Perth Glory duo Jessika Cowart and Quinley Quezada, and Western United’s Jacklyn Sawicki, along with competition alumni Sarina Bolden and Angela Beard.

Philippines squad

Goalkeepers: Olivia McDaniel, Kiara Fontanilla, Inna Palacios

Defenders: Alica Barker, Angela Beard, Reina Bonta, Jessika Cowart, Sofia Harrison, Zoe Hudson, Hali Long, Eva Madarang, Dominque Randle, Aaliyah Schinaman

Midfielders: Tahnai Annis, Anicka Castaneda, Sara Eggesvik, Kaya Hawkinson, Jessica Miclat, Natalie Oca, Isabella Pasion, Quinley Quezada, Camille Rodriguez, Jacklyn Sawicki

Forwards: Sarina Bolden, Alisha del Campo, Isabella Flanigan, Katrina Guillou, Chandler McDaniel, Meryll Serrano

Chinese Taipei

World ranking: 38

Three-time Asian champions Chinese Taipei will be the final opponent the Matildas face in this round of qualifying.

Mulan booked their place in the next round after defeating Indonesia and Lebanon, en route to topping their group in the first round of qualifying.

Chinese Taipei have since competed in the Asian Games and similarly to the Philippines, made it through to the quarter-finals, where they were beaten by Uzbekistan in extra time.

They were also quarter-finalists at the 2022 Asian Cup, where they fell on penalties to the Filipinas and as a result, fell agonisingly short of a place at the latest Women’s World Cup.

Chinese Taipei were given another chance to qualify via the playoffs and after beating Thailand, they were defeated by Vietnam – who secured the final Asian spot on offer at the tournament.

A rematch against Philippines awaits in their opening game which shapes as a crucial matchup for both teams in their hopes of progressing.

Chinese Taipei squad

Goalkeepers: Wang Yu-Ting, Chu Fang-Yi, Cheng Ssu-Yu

Defenders: Yu Wen-Chie, Pan Shin-Yu, Chen Ying-Hui

Midfielders: Ling Chiung-Ying, Zhuo Li-Ping, Wang Hsiang-Huei, Hsu Yi-Yin, Lai Li-Chin, Wu Kai-Ching, Ting Chia-Ying, Lan Yi-Chieh, Ting Chi, Chan Pi-han, Chang Chi-Lan

Forwards: Lee Yi-Wen, Chen Chin-Wen, Lee Hsiu-Chin, Su Yu-Hsuan, Lin Hsin-Hui