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Alarm bells sounding for Everton

Everton
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Australia - The Matildas confident

China 2007 will be Australia's fourth appearance at the FIFA Women's World Cup; having qualified for the 1995, 1999 and 2003 tournaments. However, Australia failed to make it past the group stages and gained their first ever World Cup point in USA 1999.

Despite their disappointing history, the Australian team are confident that they have the potential to put a stamp on the world stage and get a top three placing.

This is already a justifiable objective given Australia's performances in the qualification stages; they won three of their four games at the Women's Asian Cup, before winning 4-2 on penalties in the final against China PR to secure their place in the World Cup.

At his disposal, Australia's coach Tom Sermanni has a talented, athletic and settled squad of players including team captain, Cheryl Salisbury, who is the current holder of Australia's goal and caps record (male and female) with 29 goals in 113 appearances (at the time of writing).

Sermanni has also struck that all-important balance between youth and experience with players such as Sally Shipard and Collette McCallum – both of whom appeared in the FIFA U20 Women's World Championships in Russia 2006 and have assured their places on the plane to China.

Australia's main problem is the absence of a national women's league – which is present in many of their rival's nations - from which to gain experience and all-year round match fitness.

But the team is certain that they are well prepared for the tournament and that the lack of a national league will not affect their performance at the World Cup.