Matildas name young-guns for Brazil clash
Bold Matildas' coach Tom Sermanni has opted to start 16-year-old Caitlin Foord in Australia's opening women's World Cup match against Brazil, with the teenager likely to share responsibility for containing superstar forward Marta.
Sermanni named the versatile and speedy Sydney FC player at right back and also chose one of his two 17-year-olds, Canberra United's Emily Van Egmond, to play in central midfield for the game in Munchengladbach on Thursday morning (AEST).
"I've mulled over selections for this team for some time, I don't see it as a risk," Sermanni told a teleconference on Tuesday.
"I think both of those players have performed exceptionally well whether it's been in a training environment or in the game.
"Emily played against England the other day and played for 70 minutes and had an outstanding game.
"Caitlin coming back from a slight strain played the last 20 minute and caused mayhem.
"We didn't anticipate the quick rise that she's had both physically and football-wise ... You could have blown her over with a strong wind 12 months ago.
"Any time you pick inexperienced players there's a degree of risk, but hopefully they will take their form into the game, that's all we can hope for."
Sermanni opted against assigning an individual to mark five-time World Player of the Year Marta as he felt it could disrupt the team's defensive shape.
"We know she'll play predominantly on the left hand side," Sermanni said.
"Caitlin Foord and Tameka Butt are playing in that area and we feel they've got the pace and mobility to deal with Marta."
Lisa De Vanna, who starred in the last World Cup being used primarily off the bench, will start up front with Kyah Simon.
De Vanna was booted out of a pre-World Cup training squad for disciplinary reasons but according to Sermanni is potentially Australia's most critical player when on song.
"Brazil mark players man-for-man, so she'll get marked really tightly, which I think is a good thing for Lisa because as soon as she loses her marker there could be all sorts of trouble for them," Sermanni said.
Brazil only arrived in Germany last Friday and Sermanni thought it was good for Australia to get the 2007 losing finalists first up.
"They are probably getting acclimatised a little bit, they probably don't know too much about us," Sermanni said.
"Brazilian teams usually generally worry about themselves, I don't think they will be paying too much attention to Australia, so I think getting them first up should be potentially a benefit."
Sermanni may have been surprised to hear then that Brazil coach Kleiton Lima has warned his side to take nothing for granted in their opening match.
"People only think about playing against Germany or the United States but before that we have to win (in the group)," said Lima.
"Now our most difficult rival is Australia because it is our first match.
"Before thinking about the others we have to get through the group stages first."
The Australian team to play Brazil: Melissa Barbieri, Caitlin Foord, Servet Uzunlar, Kim Carroll, Elise Kellond-Knight, Tameka Butt, Emily van Egmond, Collette McCallum, Heather Garriock, Kyah Simon Lisa De Vanna.