In an exciting announcement for die-hard soccer fans, the Matildas have revealed their squad for the Paris 2024 Olympic qualifiers.
With the city of Perth, Western Australia, as their battleground, Australia is gearing up for an electrifying journey to Paris 2024.
Under the guidance of Head Coach Tony Gustavsson, a stellar squad, comprising several beloved stalwarts, has been put together for both the intense training camp and the crucial three Asian Qualifiers matches.
Leading the charge is none other than the indomitable Captain Sam Kerr, an icon whose prowess on the field needs no introduction, alongside the dynamic vice-captain Steph Catley.
The Matildas will miss the contributions of the World Cup duo Aivi Luik and Kyah Simon, both recovering from injuries. However, the void left by these powerhouses will be filled by the talented U-23 Women’s National Team captain, Amy Sayer, whose outstanding performance in Sweden has rightfully earned her a spot on the prestigious roster.
Adding to the anticipation is the return of the 20-year-old forward Charlize Rule, marking her comeback to the senior national team after an absence since November 2021, albeit in a train-on/development squad position.
Australia’s 22-player squad is gearing up to take on tough rivals in Group A with the action kicking off on October 26 against IR Iran, followed by a match against the Philippines on October 29 and a face-off with Chinese Taipei on November 1.
LOCKED IN 🔐
Our squad for the #Paris2024 Olympic Qualifiers in Perth has been confirmed! ⬇️
— CommBank Matildas (@TheMatildas) October 12, 2023
Coach Tony Gustavsson is feeling confident as the Matildas prepare to make their comeback after the FIFA Women’s World Cup with the home side eager to showcase their skills and teamwork.
“It’s hard to believe that by the time we take the field in Perth that it would have been over two months since that exhilarating and unifying month of football in Australia,” Gustavsson said.
“While we have had some time to reflect on the impact of this remarkable team on and off the pitch, the special trait of this group is that they are always looking to embrace the next challenge and that is now qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
“With just over 285 days to go until that opening kick-off in France, we have called up players that we know are ready to take us forward to the next phase of qualifying, while looking to reward a couple who have performed strongly in the U-23 Program.”
The Asian Qualifiers will see six matches played across three different match days with the group winner joining the winners of Group B and Group C, as well as the best-ranked runners-up, in Round 3. Round 3 will take place on 24 and 28 February 2024 with the winners of the two home-and-away series progressing to Paris.
“We are excited about the next chapter and continuing to build on the legacy for this team and it all starts in Perth,” Gustavsson added.
Fans are equally excited, eagerly anticipating the Matildas’ performance in the Paris 2024 Olympic qualifiers, their enthusiasm echoing across social media.
“Congratulations, Squad Matildas, best of luck. Enjoy you Yourself, Aussie Oi,” one fan wrote.
“Awesome, solid team, can’t wait! Go Matildas.”
“Congrats to the whole squad. Looking forward to the games,” commented another.
“Woo hoo can’t wait!!!!”
The upcoming Asian Qualifiers represent a long-awaited homecoming for the CommBank Matildas to Western Australia’s capital, marking their first appearance in Perth since 2018. It also offers Australians a golden opportunity to witness the team in action on home turf following their captivating journey in this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Australia delivered a stellar campaign during this year’s World Cup, kicking off their World Cup campaign with a 1-0 victory over a resilient Ireland team, with replacement captain Steph Catley securing the winning goal in the second half of the match.
Although the Australian side was dealt a devastating blow to their finals hopes after suffering a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Nigeria on Thursday, July 28, the Matildas rallied in their next match to dominate Olympic champions Canada with a 4-0 triumph in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on Monday, July 31st.
The remarkable victory not only propelled them to Round 16 but also etched their name in history as they secured the top spot in their group for the first time in the World Cup.
In an incredible moment for fans across Australia, the Matildas emerged victorious against Denmark, securing their spot in the World Cup quarter-finals in front of a 75,784-strong crowd at Accor Stadium on Monday, August 7.
Australia secured the 2-0 win over Denmark with the home side securing an early lead after Caitlin Foord scored in the 29th minute and a Hayley Raso finisher in the 69th minute.
Australia then achieved history when they triumphed over France following a thrilling 7-6 penalty shootout on Saturday, August 12, securing their spot in the semi-finals.
The Matildas were dealt a devastating blow to their World Cup dreams after suffering a crushing defeat in the semi-finals to England. In front of a passionate crowd of over 75,000, the Matildas suffered a 3-1 defeat against England’s Lionesses on Wednesday, August 16th, at Sydney Olympic Park.
Concluding their World Cup journey on Saturday, August 19, with a regrettable 2-0 defeat against Sweden at Suncorp Stadium, the Matildas nonetheless etched their names in history by clinching fourth place – the highest ever attained by an Australian team in a FIFA World Cup.
Commbank Matildas Olympic qualifiers final squad
Goalkeepers: Mackenzie Arnold, Teagan Micah, Lydia Williams.
Defenders: Ellie Carpenter, Steph Catley, Charlotte Grant, Clare Hunt, Alanna Kennedy, Courtney Nevin, Clare Polkinghorne, Charlize Rule.
Midfielders: Alex Chidiac, Kyra Cooney-Cross, Katrina Gorry, Emily van Egmond, Amy Sayer, Clare Wheeler, Tameka Yallop.
Forwards: Caitlin Foord, Mary Fowler, Sam Kerr, Hayley Raso, Cortnee Vine.
Group A match schedule
October 26: Australia vs Iran (HBF Park, Perth)
October 29: Australia vs Philippines (Optus Stadium, Perth)
November 1: Australia vs Taiwan (HBF Park, Perth)