After years of merely appearing in the sports recap on the news and failing to capitalise on success, the Matildas are starting to get the credit they deserve. The Matildas are this countries best national side, and it is about time we treated them that way.
Nobody would have been to blame if the public swept this Australia v Brazil series under the rug. We are deep into AFL and NRL finals, and the Matildas were scheduled to play the same night as Australia’s two big codes. However, something amazing happened on Saturday. The Matildas were the hottest ticket in town, with higher attendance than both the AFL and NRL on Saturday night. Think about that. The Matildas outsold an AFL and an NRL final. Let it sink in.
While this may seem like a perfect storm, the GWS Giants home game was the lowest attended finals appearance since World War One. However, the Matildas have earned their keep and have positioned themselves as our best sporting side at the moment. After years of causing the occasional upset, the Matildas won the Tournament of Nations, defeating the USA, Japan and Brazil in the process. The huge 6-1 victory over Brazil in the final turned the most heads, and the nation took notice the achievement. The thought of the Socceroos winning 6-1 over anybody seems a little far-fetched at the moment. For an Australian football team to do it over a traditional power like Brazil shows how great the Matildas are.
The Matildas’ homecoming.
Saturday’s match in Penrith was the Matildas’ homecoming and a fitting way to celebrate the girls’ triumph. Saturday presented a re-match with the Tournament of Nations finalist, Brazil, who was set to make up for the embarrassing defeat last month. Now, as the favourite, Matildas coach, Alen Stajcic spoke of the side’s quality and attitude. “The Tournament of Nations showed how this team has matured to do it three games in a row … that’s our challenge. If we can keep down that path, there’s no reason we can’t be one, two or three in the world come the next World Cup.”
“The challenge now for this group is to do it on any given day five or six times in a row in a World Cup.” – Alen Stajcic
The Matildas expectedly started the game a little shaky, which in such a match. However, they found their feet soon enough, and our attacking three of Sam Kerr, Lisa De Vanna and Caitlin Foord lead the side to a 2-1 victory. In fact, that attacking three is arguably the most dangerous in world football at the moment, with Kerr being the best player on the planet right now.
From here, it is all about momentum, both on and off the park. In a nation that is finally starting to embrace women sport, Australian football needs to see what they have in front of them. After a quarter-final run at the last world cup, the Girls had to strike to get adequate pay. Now after a recent pay increase, we can see the Matildas’ hype build in anticipation for the next world cup. The hype starts tonight though, with another match against Brazil. This time in Newcastle.
On the park, the girls need to continue to perform the way they have been. Consistency is key. We have the best front-line in the sport, and we are starting to string together great results. We are undefeated in the past seven matches against top-15 ranked sides.
@TheMatildas undefeated in past 7 games(6 wins),all against top-15 FIFA-ranked teams
— andrew howe (@AndyHowe_statto) September 16, 2017
The Matildas are taking all the right steps to make the 2019 World Cup a memorable one for Australia. I know it is probably bad luck to say it, but fuck it, why not us?