No room for sentiment with third place on the line, says Australia coach

No room for sentiment with third place on the line, says Australia coach

Australia coach Tony Gustavsson said he will not risk their chances of finishing third at the Women’s World Cup by letting emotion influence his team selection for Saturday’s game against Sweden.

A number of Gustavsson’s squad have not played a minute of the tournament while some senior members may never have another chance to take the pitch at a World Cup after the third-place playoff at Brisbane’s Lang Park.

But Gustavsson said that would not enter into his calculations.

“If it was emotionally, those players would play because they deserve to play,” the Swede told reporters.

“But I can’t pick based on emotions. This is a third-place game. We’re playing for a medal. I’m going to make sure we have a lineup that is the strongest starting lineup we can have but also the strongest finishing lineup.

“It’s not about giving players experience just for the sake of giving experience. This is a game to win.”

Australia will be without centre back Alanna Kennedy for a second straight match due to concussion symptoms.

Captain Sam Kerr, however, said she was raring to go after scoring a stunning goal in the 3-1 semi-final defeat to England, her first start at the tournament after battling a calf injury.

“Honestly, it’s been amazing to just be a part of this journey,” said Kerr, who missed the group stage matches.

“Like if I hadn’t played one minute it still would have been the best moment of my career to be here because what we’ve achieved as a team is amazing.”

Sweden are familiar to a number of the Matildas who play club football in the Scandinavian country, including midfielder Katrina Gorry and centre back Clare Polkinghorne.

The co-hosts thrashed Sweden 4-0 in Melbourne last November.

Gustavsson also coached against them as an assistant on former United States coach Jill Ellis’s staff.

He said he took in a concert with Sweden’s music-loving coach Peter Gerhardsson after the World Cup draw in New Zealand.

“There’s a lot of similarities between the two teams, that is very well organised defensively, that is very good in attack transitions,” said Gustavsson.

“Two teams that are very good on the flanks and the wide areas.

“And two teams that are probably two of the best teams in set plays in the world.

“So the team that wins those battles are probably going to win the game.”

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