Matildas focused on Asian Cup win: Simon

Ed Jackson |

No-one knows better than Kyah Simon what it takes to win an Asian Women’s Cup and she expects the Matildas to claim their second continental crown in India.

The Australian star famously scored the winning penalty in a shootout against North Korea to secure the 2010 Asian Cup.

The Matildas suffered heartache in the next two tournaments, falling to rivals Japan in the 2014 and 2018 finals.

On the eve of Friday’s group opener against Indonesia in Mumbai, Simon is talking big about Australia’s hopes of ending their wait for another Asian Cup success.

“We go into each tournament wanting to win and that’s purely it, we want to win the Asian Cup,” Simon said.

“2010 was the last time we lifted this trophy and it’s been a long time between wickets, but I know that we’re going into it to win the Asian Cup.

“There is the home World Cup next year, but there’s so much football to be played between now and then and we’re just focusing on the now and that’s here in India.”

Simon’s presence will be reassuring to her teammates and coach Tony Gustavsson, given the 30-year-old’s record at major tournaments.

As well as her 2010 heroics, Simon scored crucial goals in the 2011 and 2015 World Cups and after a horror run of injuries was one of Australia’s best at the Tokyo Olympics last year, where she reached the milestone of 100 appearances for her country.

“I love tournament football. I love high pressure moments in football,” Simon said.

“We play these games to be in those moments.

“I just enjoy the challenge and when there’s something on the line or something at stake at a major tournament, you’re doing all you possibly can in your power as an individual but also as a team to hope to be successful in that tournament.”

The Matildas hopes were given a big boost ahead of the tournament with Japanese star Mana Iwabuchi testing positive for COVID-19 on her arrival in India.

The Arsenal forward will have to spend the next seven days in isolation, missing the start of the tournament.

She will only be able to join her teammates once she records a negative test.

Australia had no such drama when they arrived in India on Wednesday and Simon said the restrictions for the tournament, which include no spectators at grounds and accommodation bubbles for each team, were simply part of international football during the pandemic.

“COVID’s been around now for a couple of years,” she said.

“We’re no stranger to it.”