Get your beanies on.
Currently sitting 6th in the latest FIFA rankings, our Westfield Matildas are arguably Australia’s premier sporting side.
They will finally return to Australian soil, taking on South American outfit Chile this Tuesday (13 November) at McDonald Jones Stadium. Kickoff is at 7.30pm.
Despite being listed as a ‘friendly’, you can bet this clash will be anything but. The match forms a critical part of the side’s 2019 World Cup preparation, held in France from Friday 7 June to Sunday 7 July next year. A top 6 ranking before the World Cup draw on Saturday 8 December in France is top of the Matildas’ mind heading into the competition. This would place Australia in the top tier of seeding for the World Cup, meaning that powerhouse sides such as current World Cup holder USA, hosts France and Germany would all be avoided in the Group stage.
If the Matildas are able to defeat Chile next Tuesday, as well as their match this Saturday in Penrith, they will guarantee a much sought-after top 6 placing. The side are confident and well prepared for the clash, as midfielder Emily van Egmond told us when we spoke with her last month.
Van Egmond spoke about the importance of the clashes within the camp, stating, “They’re extremely important. It’s less than a year now until the World Cup, so every piece of preparation we can have is very beneficial for us going into that tournament.”
Van Egmond also spoke about next year’s World Cup, saying, “You don’t want to go in to make up the numbers, you want to go to win, and that’s our number one priority.”
This is exciting for the state of football and women’s sport in Australia, with such lofty ambitions on the world stage in the world game a serious reality. The quality of our Matildas side is at an all-time high, with worldbeater Sam Kerr, winger Caitlin Foord and defender Steph Catley leading the way with van Egmond.
Matildas midfielder and Newcastle Jets captain Emily van Egmond in action for Australia.
Speaking to the quality of opponents Chile, van Egmond said, “It’s not usual that we’ll play a South American team, so the fact that we’ve got Chile coming out to Australia is awesome. I know the girls will be extremely excited to face a team that poses a completely different challenge from other teams that we’ve faced this year.”
The clash promises to be exciting and nail-biting, with a huge crowd anticipated to cheer our girls home. Limited tickets to the match are still available at Ticketmaster.com.au, so make sure you grab them now and turn up in your green and gold.