TheFA.com catches up with Australia captain Cheryl Salisbury ahead of Thursday's international
TheFA.com catches up with Australia captain Cheryl Salisbury ahead of Thursday's international against England at Turf Moor, Burnley FC, which will be shown live on Sky Sports...
Australia captain Cheryl Salisbury is on Thursday evening set to make yet another entry in her remarkable book of records.
The Australians have never before met England at senior international level, so Hope Powell's team represents the 28th nation against whom Salisbury has pitted her wits in a distinguished soccer career.
At club level she has played professionally in both Japan and America, where she has recently ended her first WUSA season as a New York Power player.
She is also, despite playing most of her international games in midfield before switching to defence, Australia's record scorer with 27 goals to her name before the Matildas left home on a match-filled journey to the Women's World Cup finals in America.
The team has played two games against China before this evening's game, which will bring the 29-year-old skipper her 88th international cap. That would leave her with just 15 more appearances to break the all-time Matildas record, held by Anissa Tann, of 102 caps.
And that would surely cap a tremendous career, which in the meantime will reach another milestone when later this month Salisbury becomes the first Australian to take part in three World Cup tournaments.
She's a one-woman Guinness Book of Records, though perhaps strangely she has no concern for the statistics which make up her footballing life.
"I don't think about breaking records," she insists. "I just want to play football, to win matches and to help take the Australian team further than we've ever been before.
"My big ambition at the moment is to win a match at the World Cup Finals. We've not won a game yet in either of the Finals I've played in, so it will be a big breakthrough if we can do that in the States this time.
"We drew with Ghana at the last World Cup finals and we are in the same group as them again, so that's a game we'll certainly be looking to win.
"We've also got China and Russia in our group, so although we've got a far from easy task it's not as tough a draw as we might have been given
"Our preparations for this World Cup haven't been ideal compared to our build-up to the 1999 tournament, when we were together as a squad at a full-time training camp in Canberra and so had lots of time to work as a unit towards the Finals.
"This time we've just been meeting up for matches so we've had less time together, but the best preparation is playing games and we've had a fair number of friendlies since we qualified for the finals.
"I'm really looking forward to playing against England. I've been over there with Australian schoolgirl teams but this will be the first time I've played at senior level and it should be a very good game.
"England are just above us in the FIFA world rankings so the teams should be pretty well matched, and with England starting preparations for Euro 2005 and us so close to the World Cup Finals both sets of players will be out to impress.
"We obviously need to look after ourselves and not do anything reckless so close to the World Cup tournament, but there'll be no half-hearted performances out there - it's our first game against England and we want to win it."
by Tony Leighton