Above: Cortnee Vine spoke of her excitement and pride at making her Australia debut with the media today. Photo: Football Australia.
Ahead of The Matildas’ final Group B game in the AFC Asia Cup, Impetus’ Ben Gilby heard from Australia’s Cortnee Vine, Emily van Egmond, and Teagan Micah (26/1/22).
Australia’s latest debutant Cortnee Vine spoke of her absolute joy at making her Matildas debut on Monday against the Philippines at the AFC Asia Cup in Mumbai.
The Sydney FC star came on in the second half and immediately showed the form that led to her receiving that first international call-up with a typically dominant run down the right.
“It honestly felt amazing! It is so surreal. I still get a bit weird about it! I can’t believe I actually did it, like it actually happened. I can now say that I am a Matilda which is mindblowing!
“I don’t know when it’s going to hit me, it’s all been like a blur. It will probably hit me when I get home and have time to reflect. I don’t have time to do that right now, it’s just go, go, go.
“It’s been my dream since I was a kid. I started playing football when I was five with my brother just having fun. Now I’m wearing that badge with so much pride, it’s an honour to be able to do it. It has been a dream for a very long time.
“There were definitely times when I thought it was not going to happen. Soccer is a rollercoaster. Without support from back home, from family, friends, and partner for just being there. I wouldn’t be here without them.
“My first phone call afterward was to my partner. She was absolutely stoked and so proud of me. Then I called my family, they could not have been prouder. Dad was shedding a tear, so it must have been something!”
Vine spoke about her initial experiences when she stepped onto the pitch. “I didn’t really think about anything. I’m a player who just plays in the now. I just wanted to get out there and play my game and show them what I can do.
“The Philippines did a great job. They held on for so long. Staj (Alen Stajčić) as their coach has done an amazing job. He’s a very good job so I wasn’t surprised that they came out and did a good job.
“We got the win, the girls are stoked and we move on to the next match with Thailand and then the quarter-finals, so it’s all very exciting.”
The Sydney FC striker spoke about receiving her first cap from Sam Kerr. “It was a massive thing. It was Sam Kerr! It’s amazing. She is a player that I aspire to be like. She has achieved so much, along with many of this team. It’s very surreal to play with them.”
Impetus spoke exclusively to Cortnee Vine two days before her call-up to the Matildas squad for the Asia Cup, to read it, click here
Australia’s former West Ham United star Emily van Egmond has been in strong form in her country’s opening two games at the AFC Asia Cup. Scoring five goals and taking playing two different roles in her stride, the 28-year-old midfielder highlighted the difficulties that their opponents posed to them and the influence that former Matildas head coach Alen Stajčić has had on the Philippines.
“Credit to the girls. It was a difficult first half for us, they (the Philippines) played a low block and made it difficult for us.
“What he (Stajčić) is doing with the Philippines team is great, they showed they are really resilient. We go into every single game focused on ourselves. It was nice to see Staj post-game and we wish him all the best for the tournament.”
Looking more widely at Australia’s performances in their opening two games, van Egmond highlighted their defence. “It’s been awesome to keep clean sheets. We’ve had two and hope to get another one now against Thailand.
“We’re here to do a job. We have full faith in the coaching team and we’re here to do a job. We’re here to win. Whatever team the coach (Tony Gustavsson) puts out, we have full faith.”
Asked about the injection of energy that the substitutes put into the performance, especially against the Philippines on Monday, van Egmond was effusive with praise.
“The younger girls that have come in for this camp, and the ones previously, have really proved exactly why they are here. They bring a competitive edge and everyone is vying for spots (in the team). For them to be able to get game time is fantastic. To see Cortnee (Vine) get on, I’ve seen her playing for a while during my time at Newcastle (Jets), it’s great. It’s very deserving for anyone who has been selected.”
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s game against Thailand, the 28-year-old said: “We have a plan, we want to win and make a good statement going into the quarter-finals. We’ll find out more as it gets closer in terms of selection, but the most important thing is to have 23 players who are fit and available.
“It’s all about the team. We all have the same vision and aspiration in terms of what we want to achieve here, which is to win. I’m not looking too far ahead into the future. I’m focusing on my own individual goals and what we can do as a collective for what is best for the team. as always.”
Teagan Micah returned in goal for the Matildas for Monday’s game against the Philippines and reviewed how she felt things went.
“I loved playing my first Asian Cup game, I had a good (competition) debut and I enjoyed it. Any time I can step out on the park with the girls, I love it.
“It was a tough match for us, especially in the first half, but I’m proud of the girls for how they came out in the second half. We stuck to the game plan and got the three points.
“At half-time, he (Tony Gustavsson) told us about the stats from the first half and that we should be 4-0 up. That’s football though, sometimes the ball just doesn’t go in. It was all about keep going, doing what we need to do and the goals would come. It was just patience, really. We keep going, getting the good performances and clean sheets, and move on to the next (game).”
Micah outlined the importance of staying focused when not having as much to do during a game as she might have. “I like to stay involved, with communication and moving across to follow the ball, moving all the time. In those sorts of games, you do have one or two moments to get involved, so you need to be ready.
“It’s great that there is competition between Lyds (Lydia Williams), Macca (Mackenzie Arnold), and myself. We push each other along, we get on well. It’s a really good environment and it’s good to have people to push you. We’re only going to get better as a result.”
In terms of her own focuses at present, the Rosengård goalkeeper said: “I’m still young, so I want to be a lot more consistent and keep pushing for the number one spot, enjoying my football.