Milicic, Matildas not getting caught up in knockout round speculations
Heading into the final week of group play at the Women's World Cup, speculation can run rampant among fans and players and coaches alike.Which team will we face next in the knockout round? Which result will give us the better draw?
But Australia head coach Ante Milicic, for one, is not getting tangled in the pre-match net of possible permutations.
"We'll just focus on what we can control, and that's our performance [Tuesday]," Milicic said on Monday. "We will keep playing our style and show full respect to our opponent, Jamaica, and do our job. What happens in the other games happens and we'll see where it lands."
The easiest route to the Round of 16, of course, is with a win on Tuesday night. "No game in the World Cup is easy," said Aussie goalkeeper Lydia Williams. "We've done a lot of analysis on Jamaica and if we're not focused, it could bite us in the butt. We're going in focused and knowing what we need to do, but also trying to play an entertaining style of football."
Ahead of Tuesday's two final Group C group-stage matches -- Italy-Brazil and Jamaica-Australia, both at 3 p.m. ET -- Italy is the lone team to have already secured a spot in the Round of 16. Australia can still top the group, or finish second, third or fourth, depending on the results of both matches. The tiebreaker rules that apply here: First, greatest number of points earned in all group-stage matches; then, goal-differential; and finally, greatest number of goals.
Jamaica, which has yet to score a goal in its first Women's World Cup appearance, knows it has to be prepared to face one of the best clubs in the world.
"I voted for Sam Kerr as the best player in the world," Reggae Girlz head coach Hue Menzies said of Australia's captain.
"I have got huge respect for her. Their outside box are lethal. Australia lead the World Cup in crosses and they play on the flanks. We have to deal with that and make adjustments."