Football: Soccer-Australia’s all-time scorer De Vanna dropped from Olympic squad


(Reuters) – Lisa De Vanna, Australia’s most prolific goal-scorer in women’s soccer, has been dropped from the Olympic squad with coach Tony Gustavsson saying there was “no room” for the veteran forward.

De Vanna, 36, was omitted from the Matildas’ 25-woman squad released on Tuesday for Olympic warmups away to Denmark on June 10 and Sweden five days later.

With the squad to be trimmed to 18 for the Tokyo Games, De Vanna’s hopes of competing at a third Olympics are all but over.

Swede Gustavsson said that with Caitlin Foord, Mary Fowler, Emily Gielnik and captain Sam Kerr in his squad, Australia were spoilt for choice in the attacking areas.

“I think we’re heavy in depth when it comes to those positions,” he said in a Fox Sports podcast.

“I didn’t feel there was room for Lisa in this roster this time.”

Former captain De Vanna, who has scored 47 goals in 150 appearances for Australia, telegraphed her omission before the squad’s release, tweeting: “Life won’t always give you everything you want, not because you don’t deserve it, but because you deserve more.”

De Vanna was part of a 26-woman squad of domestic players called up for a “talent identification” camp in Sydney earlier this month after helping Melbourne Victory win Australia’s W-League title in April, her fifth national championship.

De Vanna and other home-based players were overlooked for Olympic warmups in Europe in April due to logistical complications amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teams of Europe-based Matildas slumped to 5-0 and 5-2 defeats to the Netherlands and Germany respectively, the first time Australia had shipped five or more goals back-to-back in 26 years.

Gustavsson included two uncapped defenders in Charlotte Grant and Courtney Nevin, along with uncapped goalkeeper Teagan Micah as he looks to fix Australia’s defensive woes.

Midfielder Kyra Cooney-Cross will also press for an international debut.

Australia, co-hosts of the 2023 Women’s World Cup with New Zealand, are among the 12 nations who have qualified for the Olympic soccer tournament at Tokyo, which starts on July 21.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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