Rival coach’s immense Matildas praise after gallant defeat in ‘fight against giants’

A stunning strike from Mary Fowler ignited the Matildas' 3-0 win over Chinese Taipei in Wednesday night's Olympic qualifier in Perth

Chinese Taipei head coach Chan Hiu Ming says he is eager to use Australia’s unprecedented interest in the Matildas as a motivational tool to try and emulate their success in the future.

The two countries battled it out in the last Olympic qualifier on Wednesday night, with the World No.11 Matildas winning 3-0 at HBF Park.

Hiu Ming’s side were gallant in defeat, with a determined defensive effort holding the CommBank Matildas at bay until a late barrage sparked by a stunning Mary Fowler strike that opened the floodgates at HBF Park.

Hiu Ming labelled the occasion as a “fight against giants” for Chinese Taipei; in the aftermath of defeat, he showered the Matildas in praise for both their performance on the night, and for what their recent feats on the international stage had done for football in Australia, with the interest built off the 2023 Women’s World Cup leading to nearly 100,000 fans flocking to the three matchdays in Perth.

MATILDAS 3-0 CHINESE TAIPEI: Next step in road to Olympics confirmed as final qualifying opponents locked in
MARY FOWLER: Matildas boss struggling to contain hype for ‘one of a kind’ talent with a fitting nickname

“I’d like to say you to my players: we are very proud of their performance,” Hiu Ming said post-game.

“They showed their courage to fight against a really strong team who (were) the semi-finals at the World Cup. (That’s) the difference.

“If you’re talking about the individual ability, physical and technical, you can see the difference – but football is teamwork, and we tried to make our cohesions together, to fight against giants. I’m very proud of their courage and their fight.”

“You can see the massive numbers of the players in Australia compared with maybe 10 years ago, 20 years ago,” he added. “That makes the system and environment different (between) Australia and Chinese Taipei.

“Everyone knows Sam Kerr… because of a really good performance at the World Cup, then maybe after another couple of years there’s another superstar coming.

“Now you’ve got a good system and environment, you can see a lot of (Matildas) kits in the stadium, maybe they’re trying to grow another great player.”

Chan Hiu Ming and Matildas boss Tony Gustavsson.

“I told my players this kind of experience is priceless,” he continued. “In (Chinese Taipei), football is not the most popular sport… but I hope the players learn the instinct to fight… you can get this kind of experience playing in front of tens of thousands of spectators, you fight and get respect.

“I hope this can inspire our players to stay dedicated, and inspire more kids in (Chinese Taipei) to play football.”