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Matildas face adjustment to Algarve Cup draw

Football Federation Australia

The Westfield Matildas will take on Norway, China PR, and hosts Portugal in Group 1 of the 2018 Algarve Cup in Portugal next year after tournament organisers made an adjustment to the draw over the weekend.

Originally Australia was scheduled to play Norway, Korea Republic and Portugal in Group 1 of the invitational tournament, however after Australia was pooled to play Korea Republic in the Group B at the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup in Jordan next April a request was submitted to alter the draw.

The Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) has since shifted China PR to Group 1 and Korea Republic to Group 2, ensuring that Alen Stajcic’s side will not play the Taeguk Ladies throughout the Group Stage of the 25th edition of the Algarve Cup.

“We are looking forward to the Algarve Cup as we prepare for the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup in April,” said Westfield Matildas Head Coach Alen Stajcic.

“2017 was a great year for us in terms of performances, consistency, and most importantly laying a platform for our schedule in 2018 and beyond.

“We have set high expectations for ourselves and with a renewed sense of confidence and belief we will be aiming to make 2018 even more successful than 2017.”

Last week the Westfield Matildas surged to fourth place in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings on the back of November’s friendly victories over China PR in Melbourne and Geelong. Subsequently, Stajcic’s charges could travel to next year’s Algarve Cup as the highest ranked side in the 12-team tournament.

The 2018 Algarve Cup will mark the start of a busy year for the Westfield Matildas. While the full match schedule and venues of the competition are yet to be confirmed, Australia are certain to play four matches in Portugal between 28 February and 7 March next year.

Following the 2018 Algarve Cup the Westfield Matildas will continue to prepare for the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup on home soil. Camps in cities yet to be announced will feature further friendly fixtures in the lead up to the team’s efforts in Amman.

Later in 2018 the Westfield Matildas will seek to defend their Tournament of Nations crown in the United States of America.