Sydney FC players star as Young Matildas qualify for World Cup

Hear from Zara Kruger after she scored her first goal for her country

Sydney FC players have been heavily involved once again as the Young Matildas saw off Chinese Taipei 3-0 to top their group at the AFC U20s Women’s Asian Cup.

First half goals to Jessica Nash followed by Sydney FC midfielder Zara Kruger saw the Aussies go into the sheds with a two goal lead and an Indiana Dos Santos assist in the second half set up Claudia Cicco for the third.

Shay Hollman with another great performance in the middle of the park – Image: Football Australia

Shay Hollman had another impressive performance in the middle of the park and was awarded the Player of the Match once again for her efforts. She played the entire 90 minutes and is demonstrating the ability that she has shown in the Liberty A-League this season under Ante Juric.

Indiana Dos Santos made a welcome return to the side after she hobbled off in the snow in the opening game with an ankle concern. Ante Juric will be pleased to see her back out there as he will definitely be looking to utilise her speed and close control in the back end of the campaign.

For Zara Kruger though, this was a big moment. A moment that the young stud farmer from Queensland could only have dreamed about many years ago.

“It’s a really great honour. My first goal in the Green and Gold and it was a really nice feeling.

“I saw the ball come into the box and I just made sure I was first to the ball and struck it with my left foot,” Kruger said.

Indi Dos Santos celebrates after being involved in the third goal

She partnered Shay Hollman in the middle of the park and that connection she said was critical for the Australians to cut open the opposition.

“I think we’re really on the same page and we understand and communicate really well together.

“Shay had another great performance and I’m proud of her,” she added.

Finally, Zara highlighted the thrill of qualifying for the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup which will be held in Colombia at the end of the season.

Zara Kruger celebrates her goal – Image: Football Australia

“It’s such an incredible feeling because we’ve been working towards it for the past 18 months.

“To top the group and get the nine points from the three games really is an incredible feeling.

“I’m super excited because if I get selected this will be my first World Cup so it is really exciting,” Kruger said.

The Young Matildas will meet defending AFC U20 champions Japan in the semi-finals of the AFC U-20 Women’s Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2024™ this Wednesday, 13th March at JAR Stadium (10.00pm AEDT). 

The match will be broadcast live on 10Play.

Match Details

Australia v Japan
AFC U20 Women’s Asian Cup Semi Finals
Wednesday 13th March 2024
JAR Stadium, Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Kick Off: 10:00pm AEDT (4:00pm Local)
Broadcast Live: 10Play