THE soothing daily pre-dawn Islamic prayer blaring across speakers planted high in the estimated 6000 mosques of Jordan subtly reminds Lisa de Vanna of her soccer holy rites.
De Vanna who is expected to feature in a third consecutive AFC Asian Cup final when Australia takes on Japan at Amman Stadium on Saturday said her pre game routine includes time with her faith but it has changed over the many years as an international.
“Hearing the prayer at five o’clock is different because I start to reflect,’’ de Vanna said.
“I try to listen to 1980s music I’m an old soul, I do a little prayer and get onto the team bus and get ready for the game.
“I pray in the sense to give me the strength and for my family to be OK, hope and faith.
“Whatever is in control, let it take control.”
The veteran Matilda is just one of two Australians left standing from the ground breaking Australian AFC Asian Cup final in Adelaide 12 years ago.
Goalkeeper Lydia Williams and de Vanna felt the heartbreak of a loss in the nation’s maiden Asian Cup as a host, losing to China in a shootout at Hindmarsh.
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Four years later de Vanna held the Asian Cup trophy aloft in China.
She was in good company as present Asian Cup Matildas, Williams, Elise Kellond-Knight, Kyah Simon, Aivi Luik, Tameka Butt and Sam Kerr were all on the winner’s dais almost eight years in a shock shootout win over North Korea.
Australia then had a miserable 2008 campaign before copping another loss in a final, this time to Japan in Vietnam in 2014.
However with time not on the 33-year-old’s side de Vanna revealed she will again pray that this time Australia will beat Japan.
Despite earning 140 caps de Vanna still has doubts after 14 years as an international.
It’s more about her ability to recover from a gruelling 120 semi-final minutes where Australia overcame Thailand 3-1 in a shootout after being held to a 2-2 draw on Wednesday.
“I’m so conscious of my age,’’ de Vanna said.
“I’ll get the proper treatment and the recovery and the assessment but it might have to come down to how I am mentally and we’ll see after that.”
De Vanna is now playing in her fifth Asian Cup tournament and at times she still cannot believe all the achievements during the journey which started in Perth.
She won’t be happy until Australia hoists another Asian Cup title hopefully on Saturday but at the same time she is extremely happy her mother Connie who was born in the same Portuguese archipelago Madeira as Real Madrid legend Cristiano Ronaldo is in Amman.
“I try to bring mum to every major tournament I don’t have much time and I don’t want her to miss out,’’ de Vanna said..
“If things go well she’ll be in France at next year’s FIFA World Cup.
“My sister Sonia was supposed to be here but she almost broke her ankle playing football for a local club (in Perth).
“She tells her club her married name and doesn’t use de Vanna, she doesn’t want to be related to me so she can play.”