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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Matildas to host China in two-game series in Victoria in November

Mile Jedinak returns to Australia's squad set to face Syria, while Nikita Ruka Rukavytsya rejoins after a 3-year absence.

The Matildas will host China in a two-match series in November in an important warm up before next year's Asian Cup.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) and the Victorian Government announced games at Melbourne's AAMI Park on Nov. 22 and Geelong's Simonds Stadium on Nov. 26.

The news comes with women's football on a high in Australia after the Matildas defeated Brazil in two internationals before healthy crowds, with more than 31,000 fans passing through the turnstiles in Penrith and Newcastle.

"The Westfield Matildas have captured the hearts and minds of Australian girls, boys, women and men in the last week with big crowds coming out to watch them play brilliant football and show their professionalism, humility and class off the pitch," FFA CEO David Gallop said.

"It is also a unique occasion to engage with the substantial local Chinese community through the shared language of football.

"The Chinese government, and the China Football Association, have unveiled a plan for football, that will see the creation or refurbishment of 70,000 football fields, 20,000 player academies, and 10,000 new coaches with a target of 50 million people playing the game in the country."

Sam Kerr celebrates one of her goals with Chloe Logarzo.
Sam Kerr inspired Australia to a 3-2 win against Brazil in Newcastle on Tuesday.

The Matildas are ranked sixth in the world, with China at 13th. In 38 games head-to-head since 1988, the Australians have won only nine times, including a 2-1 victory in their most recent meeting in March.

They will both be among the favourites at the 2018 Asian Cup in Jordan between Apr. 7 and 22.

"The recent two matches against Brazil were extremely important for our preparation for the next year's Asian Cup. China is a quality opposition, and we have a long history of tough matches against them," coach Alen Stajcic said.

"I'm sure the players are once again looking forward to running out in front of large and vocal home crowd."

The Chinese have won a record eight Asian Cups, and defeated the Matildas on penalties in the final of the 2006 edition in Australia.

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.

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