[Image: Koji Watanabe/Getty Images]
Westfield Matildas co-captain Clare Polkinhorne has paid tribute to the squad’s extended quality after sweeping aside Vietnam 9-0 in Wednesday night’s second Olympic Games qualifier.
Polkinghorne was one five Queenslanders part of the comprehensive victory as goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold, midfielder Elise Kellond-Knight and Brisbane Roar duo Tameka Butt and Emily Gielnik all started.
Head Coach Alen Stajcic made seven changes to the starting side which beat Japan 3-1 on Monday night, with Australia now two points clear of second-placed China PR.
Polkinghorne netted the final goal in the 85th minute after Gielnik – a Football Queensland Community Football Ambassador – opened her international account with the first of the night.
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“That’s a real advantage we have – our depth. Everyone contributed,” the Roar skipper said.
“We knew going into this tournament that playing five games in 10 days was going to be a tough ask and we needed everyone to do their bit for the team.
“The girls who got on the field today definitely did their part.”
Already 8-0 ahead, Polkinghorne added icing to a fine performance with a ninth from an impossible angle on the right.
“To be honest it was a cross for Meeks but a goal is a goal and I’ll take it,” the 27-year-old said.
“I think it’s the first one I’ve scored that isn’t off a corner. (I’m) just happy to contribute.”
Japan’s draw with Korea Republic sees the Westfield Matildas hold a comfortable position after the first two fixtures of the six-match round robin competition.
However, with only two spots up for grabs, Polkinghorne knows each game is crucial.
“We know it’s going to take five wins to get us to Rio and that’s what we’re focussing on,” she said.
Staj: 6 points isn’t enough to get to Rio. We’re 2 steps down the track but there’s still a long way to go & we’ve got 3 tough games ahead
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“We’ve completed two steps, we’ve got three to go, but we’ve got a great amount of focus in the group and everyone knows what the final goal is.
“Friday’s game is going to be very tough – they’re a strong outfit and it’s going to be hard for us to break them down.”