Australia’s women’s football team, also known as ‘the Matildas’, is the host of the Women’s World Cup 2023. This is a great time for you to learn more about these girls, the ones who proudly wear the Australian jersey and carry the hopes of many Australian people.
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Source: CommBank Matildas
The Name “Matildas”
Australian women’s football team is called “the Matildas”. The team got its name from the famous folk song ‘Waltzing Matilda’.
In 1994, the Australian Women’s National Football team qualified for their first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup, scheduled to be held in Sweden in 1995. At that time, the team was known as ‘the Female Socceroos’. This name even appeared in the official match program for a Socceroos friendly match against Colombia, where an Australian U-23 women’s team and World Cup hopefuls played as a prelude to the men’s game.
After the match, SBS and the Australian Women’s Soccer Association (AWSA) organized a viewer competition to suggest a nickname for the Women’s National Team.
There were a lot of options:
- Blue Flyers
Finally, the name “Matildas” was chosen. This name gained popularity and was regularly used during the 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and it continues to be used today. The Matildas have now become one of the most beloved national teams in Australia.
Australian Female Football: A Long Journey
Back in 1978, Australia formed its first-ever women’s football team to participate in the World Women’s Invitational Tournament in Chinese Taipei. Unlike the other 12 teams represented by club or district teams, Australia was the only national team in the tournament.
Source: Network Ten
The squad, put together by coach Jim Selby, mainly consisted of players from NSW and Western Australia. Connie Byrnes had the honor of being the first captain of the Australian senior national women’s team.
In the tournament, Australia narrowly missed out on sixth place in the initial round due to goal difference. They then went on to compete in the second round, where they finished eighth overall among teams placed seventh to thirteenth.
During the 1980s, the women’s team didn’t play very often, and they didn’t get much attention because there weren’t many major international competitions for them. But things changed in the 1990s when the FIFA Women’s World Cup and women’s football at the Olympic Games were introduced. This sparked a renewed interest in the national women’s team, and they became known as the Commonwealth Bank Matildas.
Since then, the Matildas have been on a roll. They’ve consistently qualified for every Women’s World Cup, and they’ve been the top team in Oceania in the 1995, 1999, and 2003 qualifiers.
In 2007, they qualified for the World Cup finals for the first time through the Asian qualifiers after reaching the final of the 2006 AFC Asian Women’s Championship. Their success continued in the 2010 AFC Asian Women’s Cup, where they won the final against Korea DPR and earned another shot at the World Cup.
Over the years, the Matildas have had some great performances in the World Cup, including their impressive showing in the 2011 tournament where they won against Equatorial Guinea and Norway, but were unfortunately knocked out by Sweden in the quarter-finals.
In 2015, Australia started their World Cup campaign against the eventual champions, the United States. They were eliminated in the quarter-finals by Japan, who were the eventual runners-up.
The Commonwealth Bank Matildas began their 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign in Group C, facing Italy in their opening match. They reached the Round of 16 but were ultimately eliminated by Norway in a penalty shootout.
Looking ahead, the Matildas have an exciting opportunity in 2023 as they will co-host the FIFA Women’s World Cup with New Zealand from July 20th to August 20th. FIFA plans to spend 152 million USD to organize the tournament. Although the cost for this year’s tournament is three times higher than the 2019 estimate and ten times higher than the 2015 tournament, it is still less than 440 million USD compared to the Men’s World Cup held in Qatar in 2022.
The team has been placed in Group B alongside Nigeria, Canada, and the Republic of Ireland. The local media considers this group to be a “group of death” because even though the Matildas are strong, they have had some unfavorable results against the teams in this group.
Last year, Australia lost both matches against Canada, who went on to win the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Meanwhile, the Republic of Ireland, despite being newcomers to the World Cup, have previously defeated the Matildas. Nigeria, on the other hand, is the most successful team in Africa, having won the African Women’s Cup of Nations 11 times.
Let’s keep an eye out for the Matildas as they continue to make their mark and inspire fans across the country with their passion and skill. It’s a chance for them to showcase their talent on home soil and celebrate the game they love.
Place In The Hearts of Fans
The Australian women’s football team has always had a special place in the hearts of their fans back home. And the numbers speak for themselves!
During the Olympic Games, the Australian women’s team set a record for the highest TV viewership in the history of women’s football in the country. The semi-final match between Australia and Sweden at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics attracted an average of 1,871,107 viewers on TV, with a peak of 2.32 million viewers. The previous record was set during the group stage match against Sweden, with 1,468,747 viewers. The highest peak viewership for Australia before the semi-final was 2.2 million viewers in the quarter-final match against England.
Ellie Carpenter, representing the Australian team, expressed gratitude to the fans, saying, “We appreciate the support from the people in Australia. We always know that you’re cheering for us. We had 2.4 million people in Australia watching our games, and that’s just mind-blowing. Please continue to support and cheer for us in the upcoming matches because we really need that encouragement.”
Although the Australian women’s team hasn’t won any international titles since it started in 1974, they have achieved notable success. They have won championships in regional competitions like the OFC Women’s Nations Cup (1994, 1998, 2003), AFC Women’s Asian Cup (2010), and AFF Women’s Championship (2008). Their best performances have been reaching the quarter-finals in the Women’s World Cup and the Olympics.
Sam Kerr, who is ready to step into the role of leading goal scorer for The Matildas. Since her debut in 2009, she has already scored 42 goals for the team and shows great promise for the future.
Sam Kerr has made history in the FIFA video game series as the first female football player to appear on the global cover of a FIFA game. At the end of 2022, the cover for FIFA 23 was revealed by EA, featuring both male player Kylian Mbappé from Paris Saint-Germain and female player Sam Kerr from Chelsea. The Australian forward has become the first female character to grace the global cover of FIFA since the game’s inception in 1993.
In the Australian market, Sam Kerr will be the representative face on the FIFA Australia Standard Edition cover. According to EA, the company recognizes Sam Kerr’s contributions to the women’s football world.
Having played professionally since 2008, Sam Kerr has achieved numerous individual and team accolades, becoming an icon of Australian women’s football. In June, the 1993-born player was awarded the Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) Women’s Footballer of the Year for her crucial role in Chelsea’s domestic double and as the top scorer in the Women’s Premier League.
Before joining Chelsea, Sam Kerr had won the Golden Boot award seven times and was the only female player to win championships in three major leagues. Vietnamese fans may also be familiar with Sam Kerr as she scored two goals in a 5-0 victory in the first leg and one goal in a 2-1 victory in the second leg against the Vietnamese women’s team in the Olympic Tokyo playoffs held in Cam Pha.
“This is a tremendous honor, a dream come true,” Sam Kerr shared after becoming the cover star of FIFA 23. “I can’t believe it! I have the opportunity to stand alongside Kylian Mbappé and work with the EA Sports development team. I hope my fans will be excited to see my image.”
Australian defender, Steph Catley, had the honor of becoming the first female football player in history to appear on the cover of the latest edition of the famous FIFA 16 video game developed by EA Sports, standing right next to the genius Lionel Messi.
Source: The Mirror
It is known that Steph Catley had to surpass formidable opponents who were also her teammates in the Australian national team, such as Kyah Simon and Katrina Gorry, to become the face of FIFA 16. Catley expressed great joy with this achievement: “No words can describe my emotions. Appearing on the cover of the FIFA 16 game is truly a dream come true. It is recognition for the hard work and dedication of female players worldwide and a significant step for women’s football. I am a passionate fan of FIFA, and being featured in the game alongside Lionel Messi is a memorable highlight in my playing career.”
Stephanie-Elise Catley is a professional Australian football player who plays as a defender for Arsenal and the Australian national team. She can play in various defensive positions, such as left-back, center-back, or sweeper.
On June 4th, during an official visit to Vietnam, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, along with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh of Vietnam, visited the Australian U20 Women’s National Team and the Vietnamese Women’s National Team, who will be participating in the 2023 Women’s World Cup in July.
During the event organized by the Australian Embassy and UNICEF Vietnam in Hanoi, the Australian U20 Women’s National Team (currently competing in the second qualifying round of the AFC U20 Women’s Asian Cup 2024 in Vietnam) had a training session with the Vietnamese women’s players.
Source: Tuổi trẻ online
The Australian women’s team is a strong team, currently ranked 10th in the FIFA rankings and has participated in the Women’s World Cup eight times, reaching the quarterfinals on three occasions. Meanwhile, the Vietnamese women’s team has made remarkable progress and recently achieved a record-breaking feat of winning the SEA Games championship four times in a row. They also have the honor of being one of the representatives from Asia participating in the 2023 World Cup.
During the meeting, the two Prime Ministers encouraged and supported the players in their training. They emphasized the important role of sports in empowering women and maximizing their potential. Both Prime Ministers expressed their joy for the upcoming 2023 Women’s World Cup, in which both teams will compete. While hoping that both teams will strive for the best results, the Prime Ministers agreed that regardless of the match outcomes, the most important thing is for the players to play with passion, sportsmanship, and determination. They should overcome challenges and make their fans proud, representing their countries with honor.
Australian Ambassador Andrew Goledzinowski believes that sports are an important part of the culture of Australia and Vietnam. “We want to encourage the development of sports for women and girls and showcase the power of sports in changing lives and promoting gender equality. We look forward to the Women’s World Cup taking place in Australia and New Zealand next month,” he said.
It is certain that the Australian team will participate in the World Cup with a strong will and determination to not disappoint their home fans. What achievements await the Australian women’s team? Will they claim their first World Cup trophy on their home soul? Let’s wait and see!