The Women’s Football World Cup kicks off this Saturday (June 8, 5am AEST) and gives Australia’s rampant Matildas the best chance ever of coming home with some silverware.
Taking place in France, 24 nations will compete in group stages before victorious teams progress to the knockouts of the tournament.
The No 6 ranked Matildas are one of the favourites to take out the Cup, and it is seen as their best opportunity with key players Sam Kerr and Lisa De Vanna at the top of their game.
The team does not lack in experience as they possess strength in depth with De Vanna, Clare Polkinghorne and Lydia Williams, who have all earned selection in their fourth FIFA Women’s World Cup squad.
Mary Fowler will be one to watch in her first appearance at a World Cup. The 16-year-old is the fourth youngest player to ever play in the tournament.
Other first timers include Gema Simon, Aivi Luik, Chloe Logarzo, Teagan Micah, Emily Gielnik, Mary Fowler, Ellie Carpenter and Amy Harrison.
Likely Starting Lineup
Matildas Full Squad
1. Lydia Williams
18. Mackenzie Arnold
12. Teagan Micah
2. Gema Simon
4. Clare Polkinghorne
5. Laura Alleway
7. Steph Catley
14. Alanna Kennedy
21. Ellie Carpenter
23. Teigen Allen
3. Aivi Luik
6. Chloe Logarzo
8. Elise Kellond-Knight
10. Emily van Egmond
13. Tameka Yallop
19. Katrina Gorry
22. Amy Harrison
9. Caitlin Foord
11. Lisa De Vanna
15. Emily Gielnik
16. Hayley Raso
17. Mary Fowler
20. Sam Kerr
Australia v Italy
Date: Sunday, 9 June 2019 (AEST)
Venue: Stade du Hainaut, Valenciennes
Kick-off: 9.00pm AEST
Australia v Brazil
Date: Friday, 14 June 2019 (AEST)
Venue: Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier
Kick-off: 2.00am AEST
Jamaica v Australia
Date: Wednesday, 19 June 2019 (AEST)
Venue: Stade des Alpes, Grenoble
Kick-off: 5.00am AEST
All fixtures – Group Stage
France, Norway, Korea Republic, Nigeria
Germany, Spain, China, South Africa
Italy, Brazil, Australia, Jamaica
England, Argentina, Japan, Scotland
Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Cameroon
Sweden, United States, Chile, Thailand
Key Threats – Players to watch
USA are the favourite to win as they are reigning champions. If they proceed through the group stage and manage to win the tournament again, it will be the teams 4th title in it’s last 8 tournaments. Tobin Heath will be one to watch as the USA forward has been crucial in securing goals for the team. Her natural first touch on the ball and control will be a key strength, making it hard for any defence coming up against her.
France are seen as another strong contender in the tournament, as the No 4 ranked team have the home field advantage of hosting the tournament. The hosting team will play the first game on Saturday 8th of June 5am AEST. The team which have several regular starting players for Lyon will give them an edge, as they are familiar with the style of play and present a strong foundation. Amandine Henry will captain as the midfielder shows great promise to give the hosting team a chance to progress through the group stage.
Netherlands took on The Matildas in a friendly game Sunday morning where the powerhouse forward Shanice Van De Sanden made it tough for Australia’s defence, scoring two goals. She will continue to prove to be a dangerous threat up front alongside Lieke Martens, who will be another player to watch throughout the tournament. Marten’s was named the best FIFA’s women football player in 2017 and has provided some memorable goals and assists for the Dutch side, making her a very valuable player.
Sam Kerr will without a doubt be making headlines as she will continue to entertain the World her with talents. Kerr has not only the ability to score, but is versatile in her finishes with the ball. She is the Football Federation of Australia’s first ever female marquee player in Australia which demonstrates Kerr’s wide backing in Australia and articulates what a exceptional footballer the young woman is. Sam Kerr will be a crucial asset in providing goals for the Matildas.
The pressure is high for Ante Milicic’s side as he has only been in charge for a few months, giving him minimal time to prepare. However, this platform is no new task for Milicic as he has graced the tournament’s stage playing in the U20s Youth World Cup and has been the assistant coach with The Socceroos, alongside Ange Postecoglou during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and Asian Cup in 2015.
Australia eagerly waits on to see how the girls will go with their first game against Italy, coming off a 3-0 loss to Netherlands early Sunday morning. The defence will need to be strong and focused on not conceding goals as The Matildas have now conceded eight goals in two games. This won’t be an easy task for the Matildas, but Hatch Newsroom predicts the girls will come out on top of the group stage and continue to Round of 16.
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