How do the Matildas look ahead of the World Cup?
Australia and New Zealand are set to host the Women’s World Cup 2023 from July 20 to August 20, which will be the first Women’s World Cup to feature 32 teams competing in 8 groups. With the competition growing even greater, are the co-hosts Australia looking comfortable on home turf?
Since the UEFA Women’s European Championship 2022, the popularity and engagement of women’s football has heightened dramatically, so this upcoming tournament is looking exciting.
Sarina Wiegman’s side shone a light on the women’s game for young girls, setting a legacy that already has and continues to create positive change. On the pitch, the European Champions have become icons, which sets the standards even higher for the hosts heading into the summer campaign.
Despite this challenge, the Commbank Matildas pose an exhilarating threat, as Head Coach Tony Gustavsson has an extremely strong squad to choose from for the tournament.
Sam Kerr has been the captain since 2019 and played in over 100 games. During this time, she has become top goal scorer (for yet another team), as she has found the net 62 times.
The Chelsea forward made her debut for her home country at just 15, and has gone on to become a household name around the world- arguably one of the greatest competitors for rival countries.
Kerr is frequently joined in the starting selection by Women’s Super League opponents Caitlin Foord, Steph Catley and Mackenzie Arnold.
The two Gunners will look to enhance their roles at the upcoming World Cup, with their abundance of experience and crucial placement placing them as leaders amongst the squad.
An Australian international since the age of 18, the Melbourne-born defender has gained vital experience across many positions during her 109 appearances. Catley’s versatile nature is a clear strength for both her country and club, in which opponents may fear her talent in multiple areas on the pitch.
Foord also started her career at the young age of 16, and since has scored 29 goals in her 108 appearances.
Not only have Australia created an attacking force, but with their 3 excellent shot-stoppers- Mackenzie Arnold, Teagan Micah and Lydia Williams- the end to end dominance is worrying for other teams entering the competition.
West Ham’s number 1, Arnold, recently made her 29th appearance for the green and gold, across a 10 year span, collecting Player of the competition in the recent Cup of Nations.
The 28 year old’s regular matches for the Hammers will put her in a good position ahead of the squad selection for the World Cup 2023.
The Australian women’s national team has never failed to qualify for the World Cup, finishing as top team in Oceania in the 1995, 1999 and 2003 Oceania World Cup qualifiers. Their consistency is intimidating, in which they stand a good chance of sailing through the first rounds of the competitions, before making an appearance in the final stages.
Will the Matlida’s be able to win the World Cup on home soil?