FIFA.com sat down for a chat with one of the world's most experienced women's coaches; Australia mentor Tom Sermanni. A veteran of the 1995 FIFA Women's World Cup™, Sermanni talks about the Matildas final group match against Norway, his dynamic young squad and his experiences so far at Germany 2011.
FIFA.com: What were your thoughts on the team's 3-2 win over Equatorial Guinea?
Tom Sermanni: I think it was a very mixed performance from us. I thought we played some very good passages of football and that was interspersed with some rather poor decision making and poor passages of play, so it was a real mixed bag. Once we got to 3-1 we should have gone on to win the game much more comfortably than we did.
*Do you feel that the handball incident may have had any effect on the team?
*I don’t think so. Obviously those decisions have an immediate effect for that short period of time but if you are a professional player, and this is a professional tournament, you just have to get switched on again and get back into the game. You know referees are not infallible, and of course they don't go in there deliberately to make wrong decisions. It was just one of those decisions, but it was no excuse for some of the poor decisions that we made.
We won the Asian Cup last year with a very inexperienced team and some of our most inexperienced players have been our best performers in this tournament so far.
*The Australian team is one of the youngest teams in the tournament, which perhaps is a double edged-sword. Do you think that the lack of experience may have any negative effect on the team?
*That’s a really good question, and the honest answer is I don’t know. We won the Asian Cup last year with a very inexperienced team and some of our most inexperienced players have been our best performers in this tournament so far, so they don't seem to be too bothered by the pressure. If we are fortunate enough to get into the knockout round, that’s when you really get tested and if you are a young team it may be difficult to maintain a certain level of performance.
*What are you plans for the next game?
*To win it (laughs)! The thing is obviously we are affected by the results of the other games in the group, but realistically we want to win against Norway to go through comfortably. We have watched Norway in their games and we will be well prepared. It is a great thing to be still involved in the group, and it is a great thing to be playing against teams of the stature of Norway.
*Do you intend to make any changes to the line-up?
*Yeah, probably. We changed the line-up for our game against Equatorial Guinea and we will probably change it again for our last game. What those changes will be, I still don’t know, because I need to see how our players recover, and we need to see which ones are the healthiest. We seem to be all OK at the moment thankfully, but there will definitely be changes, yes.
*Finally, what is your general impression about this tournament so far?
*It has been fantastic. Every single aspect from top to bottom has been superb. The supporters are fantastic, the numbers of people at the games, the knowledge of the crowds, the interest in the tournament, the way things are run, the quality of the hotels, and the service. We have had great support from the fans even amongst neutrals, particularly in the Brazil game. Near the end all the neutrals were supporting Australia which was just great. We also have a lot of families here since it was a great opportunity for them to travel to Europe and follow the girls. I can't find a single problem with this tournament, it is just flawless.