Elise Kellond-Knight might have to pinch herself when the Westfield Matildas run out for what she thinks will be their toughest test of the Cup of Nations.
Ante Milicic’s side take on Korea Republic, the world number 14, in a blockbuster clash in Brisbane on Sunday evening.
The match shapes as potentially decisive in determining the winners of the four-team tournament after both nations began their campaigns with convincing victories.
Australia beat New Zealand 2-0, while Korea Republic cruised into first place on goal difference with a 5-0 win over Argentina.
Suncorp Stadium plays host to the top-of-the-table encounter and Kellond-Knight, one of several Queenslanders in the Westfield Matildas squad, is relishing the showpiece stage.
The experienced midfielder – who is now on the books of Melbourne City – turned out in her home state’s premier football venue many times for former club Brisbane Roar, but never in the green and gold.
“It’s a massive occasion,” Kellond-Knight said.
“I don’t think I’ve actually played an international at Suncorp, so it’s a career first for me and probably a lot of the girls.
“We do have a big Queensland contingent in the team. That’s pretty special, it’s a little bit shocking actually.
“You kind of forget about it because a lot of us play in different states at the moment, but then when we come back we realise Queensland is actually home, this is where we grew up, and this is where we played all our youth football.”
Though unbeaten in their last seven meetings with Korea Republic, the Westfield Matildas were forced to settle for a stalemate when the teams met in the group stage of last year’ AFC Women’s Asian Cup.
Kellond-Knight played the full 90 minutes in that match and expects a similarly tight contest this time around.
“There’s no doubt Korea is going to be our toughest match at this tournament,” she said.
“I think they’re a quality side, every time we come up against them it’s a close encounter.
“Our last result against them, last year at the Asian Cup, was a 0-0 draw. It just shows you it is quite hard to break them down.
“I think tomorrow is going to be a pivotal game so we have to be ready for it.”