Hayley Raso and Ellie Carpenter will be joining the Australia squad for the 2018 Asian Cup in Jordan, the AFC’s qualification route for the 2019 World Cup. Caitlin Foord would be joining the team but is still in the early recovery states of a long-term foot injury.
Carpenter started three games for the Matildas at the Algarve Cup. Despite giving away a penalty in the first game against Norway she retains her spot in the squad ahead of Hannah Brewer, who was called up to the team to provide competition at fullback. Raso traveled to Portugal but went home early after making no appearances. Reports are that Raso was recovering from a hamstring strain but has been deemed healthy enough to travel with the squad to Jordan.
Australia will be playing in a difficult group B at the Asian Cup featuring Japan, South Korea and Vietnam. Five World Cup berths are up for grabs between two groups: the top two teams from each group will qualify automatically, and the third place teams play each other for the final spot. Australia was the runner-up in the previous Asian Cup after winning their first title in 2010. They start the Asian Cup against South Korea on April 7th at 10am Pacific.
Brazil’s squad has yet to be finalized but Andressinha is in the initial roster. She had been expected to join the Thorns in preseason but picked up a minor knock which she decided to recover from in Brazil. Brazil opens the Copa América, held this year in Chile, against Argentina on April 5th. The top two teams from the tournament will qualify automatically to the 2019 World Cup and the third placed team will go into a playoff with the fourth placed team from CONCACAF.
Mark Parsons, speaking after the final preseason game, confirmed that the Thorns would be signing two players from the recent trialists to short-term contracts per the national team player replacement rule, but as of Sunday who those players were had yet to be determined.