Three goals at the Algarve Cup has capped off an incredible return to the Westfield Matildas squad for Roar forward Emily Gielnik.
Gielnik has been lethal in front of goal in the side’s three group matches, netting a brace of stunning free-kicks against Netherlands then backing it up with a thunderbolt volley on Tuesday morning against China.
It’s been almost a year since she last represented Australia in the AFC Olympic qualifiers but impressing Head Coach Alan Stajic throughout an indifferent Westfield W-League season for the Roar has seen her return to the international stage with a bang.
“I heard that Staj [Alan Stajic] was happy with how I had been playing, so obviously without the W-League, I wouldn’t be back in this squad,” Gielnik said.
“It does feel really good, I feel really great about being given the opportunity,” she said.
2017 marks the first time Australia have participated in the Algarve Cup since 1999 and following a standout tournament, next on the agenda is representing her nation at a major tournament.
“I feel like it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, it’s the be all and end all,” she said.
“Playing for my country is great but I still have those other little goals to play for my country in a major tournament.”
Westfield Matildas and Brisbane Roar Captain Polkinghorne, who is closing in on 100 caps for the Westfield Matildas, says the Algarve Cup has provided a great opportunity for her to pass on experience and guide the squad’s younger members.
“Hopefully I can provide a bit of support to the younger players and a bit of guidance to how to play at the top level,” she said.
“It’s now just about using that playing experience and trying to pass on the things I’ve learnt to them.”
Four Brisbane Roar representatives have had the opportunity to showcase their talents on the world stage with Polkinghorne and Gielnik joined by teammates Katrina Gorry and Mackenzie Arnold.
The side topped Group C following victories over the Netherlands and China with a third-placed playoff to take place on Thursday morning (QLD time) against Denmark.
The fixture appropriately falls on International Women’s Day as the Westfield Matildas look to round off a successful journey to Europe for Australian football.
You can catch Australia’s third-placed playoff against the Danes live on Fox Sports at 12:45am Thursday morning (QLD time).