Sport Football Matildas to play home tournament ahead of World Cup tilt

Matildas to play home tournament ahead of World Cup tilt

Matildas football
The Matildas will be hoping to jump for joy again at next year's World Cup. Photos: Getty
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Australia’s women’s football team the Matildas are set to host a four-nation tournament on home soil in February and March next year as part of their preparation for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France in June 2019.

The Cup of Nations tournament will see the Australians take on Argentina, South Korea, and New Zealand in a tournament that will feature double-header match days and will be staged across venues in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

It will be a valuable dress rehearsal for all the competing teams who each have booked a spot in the World Cup Finals in France.

The tournament will kick off on Thursday 28th of February at Jubilee Stadium in Kograh in Sydney when Argentina play South Korea.

That game will be immediately followed by the Matildas taking on New Zealand.

The match will mark the 40th anniversary of the Matildas first ever ‘A’ international match which was against the Football Ferns at Sutherland in Sydney in 1979.

Recently elected Football Federation Australia ( FFA) board member Heather Reid attended that first ever Matildas international.

“I made the trip from Canberra with a group of friends. I remember seeing some pretty important player for Australia at that time like the legend Judy Dolan and Sue Monteith,” Reid told The New Daily.

Reid said 40 years on the status of the Matildas was a delight to her.

“At the time I never really quite imagined we would have the game on such a big international stage with a World Cup for women and Olympic status. So much has changed in that forty years even though we still want to see improvement in many different areas of the game,” Reid said.

For the Matildas, The Cup of Nations a perfect opportunity to capitalise on their recent box-office success.  In the last fourteen months, Alen Stajcic’s team has hosted successful visits from both Brazil and Chile which have drawn impressive crowds.

With the Matildas boasting a line-up featuring Australia’s most celebrated footballer, Sam Kerr, FFA is clearly expecting the growth in interest in the women’s team to continue to blossom.

“We’ve been working towards hosting a four-nation tournament in Australia for some time and it’s great to finally unveil what we plan on becoming a regular feature of the Australian sporting calendar,” FFA Chief Executive David Gallop said in a statement.

“We’ve seen the success of other competitions such as the Tournament of Nations in the USA and they’ve helped inspire and inform the creation of the Cup of Nations,” Gallop said.

Gallop was keen to acknowledge the significance of the timing of the tournament.

“The opportunity to honour the 40th anniversary of the Matildas’ first ‘A’ international fixture will make the New Zealand match in Sydney a special occasion for the first generation of Matildas who made the sacrifices and laid the foundations for success the team enjoys today,”  he said.

The Matildas go into next year’s FIFA World Cup ranked sixth in the World. They’ve been drawn in Group C and will face Italy, Brazil, and Jamaica in the group stage of the tournament.

Their World Cup campaign kicks off against Italy in Valenciennes on Sunday June 9.

2019 Cup of Nations – Match Schedule

Matchday One
Date: Thursday, February 28, 2019
Venue: Jubilee Stadium, Kogarah (Sydney), New South Wales
Match One: Argentina v Korea Republic – 4.35pm kick-off (AEDT)
Match Two: Westfield Matildas v New Zealand – 7.30pm kick-off (AEDT)

Matchday Two
Sunday, March 3, 2019
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Queensland
Match One: Argentina v New Zealand – 3.05pm kick-off (AEST); 4.05pm (AEDT)
Match Two: Westfield Matildas v Korea Republic – 6pm kick-off (AEST); 7pm (AEDT)

Matchday Three
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne, Victoria
Match One: Korea Republic v New Zealand – 3.05pm kick-off (AEDT)
Match Two: Westfield Matildas v Argentina – 6pm kick-off (AEDT)