Matildas coach Ante Milicic has not put a line through Lisa De Vanna’s name despite overlooking the veteran striker for their Tokyo Olympics qualifying tune-up games against Chile next month.

De Vanna, the Matildas’ record goalscorer, was a surprise omission in the 21-player squad for the friendlies on 9 November in Sydney and three days later in Adelaide. But Milicic insisted the 34-year-old remained firmly in contention for Australia’s Olympics qualifiers in February.

“Lisa’s in the extended list that I’ll continue to monitor,” Milicic said. “The thing with Lisa is that I know fully what she offers the team on and off the park, so I’ll continue to monitor her moving forward.

“You see with the World Cup that’s just gone past and also the Olympic qualifiers, there are a lot of games in short spaces. We really need to see what players can play at what intensity – can they train, can they back up? It just really gives us a chance to see as many players as possible.”

Australia will face China, Taiwan and Thailand in their Olympics qualifiers between 3 and 9 February. In a revamped qualifying format, the top two teams from each group will advance to the two-leg crossover playoffs, which take place on 6 and 11 March.

Fresh off another record-breaking campaign in the United States’ NWSL, Sam Kerr was among 18 members of Australia’s World Cup squad picked for the friendlies against Chile. Emma Checker (three caps) and uncapped duo Jenna McCormick and goalkeeper Sarah Willacy were also included.

Kyah Simon and Alex Chidiac could not overcome injuries in time to be selected, while talented teenager Mary Fowler was overlooked after being picked for the Young Matildas AFC Under-23 championships.

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“If we are to qualify for the Olympics, it’s 18 players,” Milicic said. “That’s five more than the World Cup, so I really thought about that and that’s also influenced my decision in this squad.”

Matildas: Mackenzie Arnold (gk), Ellie Carpenter, Steph Catley, Emma Checker, Caitlin Foord, Emily Gielnik, Katrina Gorry, Amy Harrison, Elise Kellond-Knight, Alanna Kennedy, Sam Kerr (captain), Chloe Logarzo, Aivi Luik, Jenna McCormick, Clare Polkinghorne, Hayley Raso, Karly Roestbakken, Emily van Egmond, Sarah Willacy (gk), Lydia Williams (gk), Tameka Yallop.



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