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Matildas prepare for American storm


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Servet Uzunlar has played at a World Cup and lifted the Asian Cup with the Matildas but she says nothing compares to playing the United States.

Less than a week away from Australia’s World Cup opener against powerhouses America, Uzunlar can already taste it.

“It’s the atmosphere,” she says.

“When you come up against the world’s best and it’s a packed house, it’s what sport and football is all about.”

On Tuesday morning (AEST), Alen Stajcic’s side will face the tournament favourites, just as Uzunlar has done three times before.

In friendly matches in 2012 and 2013, the Matildas were served losses by a combined tally of nine goals.

It’s par for the course in a one-sided rivalry.

In 25 matches against the Americans, Australia have never won, and drawn only twice.

Despite the losses, Uzunlar was left with indelible memories.

“Even though they were friendlies, I’ve never had that much of a response from the crowd,” she said.

The American women’s side regularly attract huge crowds, with more than 100,000 people in total attending four home friendly matches building up to the tournament.

Tuesday morning’s match in Winnipeg, Canada will be no different, with the 33,000-capacity World Cup stadium having sold out weeks ago.

But Uzunlar is not in awe of the world No.2 side, which has never finished outside of the top three at Women’s World Cups.

Like the rest of her squad, the first-choice right back firmly believes the Matildas can triumph over the USA and begin their tournament on a strong footing.

“They’ve got that belief, they’ve got a presence about them … very physical, very strong and they are winners, you can tell they are winners,” she says.

“They’re a fantastic team but when it comes down to it it’s just football.

“Who’s to say we can’t go out there and beat them?

“The girls have spoken about this and I don’t think the Matildas have ever been together like this.”

“If there’s any chance to really come out firing, show them what we’ve got and surprise them I think it’s this game.

“Being the underdogs is just what we do.”


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