Following Australia’s Cup of Nations win, Louise Taffa caught up with Matildas first-choice goalkeeper Lydia Williams.

Lydia congratulations on winning the Cup of Nations, how do you feel after those three preparation games?

Yeah obviously we started in a new playing style, not too different but we went out guns blazing and had a really good performance and maintained that for the South Korea game too.

I think this one [Argentina] was a bit harder, we found it difficult to break them down and having patience in continuing that but it’s a good sign that we can keep them out, we still got a clean sheet and won the game.

 

At the end of the day we just have to clean things up and tidy it up a bit but it’s looking good.

When you say a new playing style what has Ante Milicic told you adapt to now?

We’re obviously playing a high block and medium block and it’s just keeping the ball moving, always creating angles, having players within twenty-yards to out play your opposition and pass them all over the park.

I think in our first game we made over 600 passes so there is a lot of options, that’s kind of what we did the first two games.

How did the players execute that defensive shape? have you seen improvements in that respect?

Yeah definitely, most of the girls were communicating more on the field and really kind of locking it in and keeping it tight. Doing our best with that.

How are you enjoying life under Ante given the transition, has it been hard?

No we’re all professional athletes and these things happen, you have to kind of move on quickly, this is our sport, it’s our career.

Whilst the circumstances weren’t ideal, you have to move on and get ready for your next tournament or challenge.

World Cup is something we’ve never lost sight of – we want to win it, we want to perform the best we can and that’s still the main goal.

And you’ve got a pretty good group, are you confident you’ll get out of it and go deep into the tournament, if not win it?

Yeah I think it’s really important to get out and get out on top. That will really set us up for the next knockout stages and I think we can achieve anything with this group.

How’s your role changed under Ante?

Just probably a bit more of the ball. All eleven players on the field, everyone needs to be involved in both the build-up and defence.

There’s a lot of emphasis on that, to keep patience in building up – if we get pressed by one person, two people or three people we have options on how to play out.

It does involve the goalkeeper being used quite a bit so a lot more running, we’re playing a high line so we’re higher up the field as well.

How are you feeling physically coming off the W-League season?

I think most of us had a bit of break, so that obviously helped with what we have coming up with the American season and then playing against the US, then another block of the American season before camp.

Our medical staff and Ante have maintained that we do need to watch our loads and make sure we get rest when we can. So they managed that really well during this camp.

So what’s next for you now?

I’ll be heading off to America within the next two or three days and getting ready for pre-season, have a few games over there with the team. It’s one eye on club, but obviously in the background you always want to focus on your country.

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Louise Taffa
taffa.louise@gmail.com