The Student Media Site of William Clarke College

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The Student Media Site of William Clarke College

We Are

The Student Media Site of William Clarke College

We Are

The Dream Team: The Rise of the Matildas

Credit: Jeffrey F Lin on unsplash

The Matildas’ journey is remarkably one that is a testimony to hard work, determination, talent and undoubtedly, commitment. Inspiration from The Matildas on and off the pitch has ignited and empowered the nation of young girls and boys with the hopes to leave behind a legacy to all.

On June 25th, 2020, the decision was made. Australia and New Zealand won the bid to be co-host nations of the Women’s World Cup 2023. Years later during July, the 29-player squad coached by Tony Gustavsson was selected and published for the world to see. A few of the inspiring players such as Samantha Kerr, Ellie Carpenter and Lydia Williams have become role models, and advocates and have developed a pathway for young aspiring footballers to dream big and achieve greatness.

It all came down to the 31st of July. Our final group stage against Canada. The decider to see which team would take their ticket to the Round of 16. The whistle blew, commencing the first half and within 9 minutes, Mackenzie Arnold passes to Caitlin Foord, hits Steph Cately ran like a bullet down the left wing, crossed it deflected out to Hayley Raso, and she slots it in the bottom left. The stadium of almost 28,000 people erupts. The yellow and green explodes like fireworks all around the stadium and this was just the beginning. The 38th minute saw Kyra Cooney-Cross deliver the ball into the box where it met Hayley Raso, and she claimed her 2nd of the night. Foord is able to find Mary Fowler in the 57th minute where the crowd gasps as it hits the post and ricochets in. And finally, Katrina Gorry goes down inside the edge of the 18-yard box resulting in a penalty for Cately to fire into the top left to secure the 4-0 victory over Canada. They’ve made it to the Round of 16.

The Round of 16 saw the reigning champions USA lose against Sweden in a nail-biting penalty shootout with a save that barely inched over the line by 1mm.

The 7th of August sees Australia taking on Denmark with Foord securing a goal in the 29th minute and Raso in the 70th. A figure emerges and Sam Kerr returns. Our captain. The stadium is as loud as it’s ever been, the crowd’s heart races and with eager eyes, we watch her leap out onto the field for her first minutes of the World Cup. Eventually the final whistle blows, and we’ve won the battle. The Matildas stand victorious surrounded by the echo of thousands cheering at the stadium. Ellie Carpenter refers to the crowd as a “12th man for us out there at times.” The game reached 6.54 million people watching on Channel 7 being rated the highest TV program of 2023, higher than EVERY State or Origin and last year’s AFL Grand Final.

Therefore, Australia, Sweden, Spain, Netherlands, Japan, England, Columbia and France were all taking their ticket to the round of 8.

Not only have they inspired young girls and boys, but they’ve also now inspired a country. They’ve got football enthusiasts, non-football-dominated crowds and many ages and generations cheering with pride.

Saturday the 12th of August. Quarter-Final. They’ve made history. Headlines in articles and on TVs all around Australia. The 40th minute saw an extravagant moment from the France defender, with a goal-line save against Fowler. The 55th minute saw Hayley Raso receive a ball from Kerr, cutting onto her left foot and slamming it at the France keeper and a few minutes later Fowler hit a half volley unlucky to find the net either. A gruesome 90 minutes concludes followed by a nail-biting 30 minutes, and now into penalties. Arnold made the first save of the night at the bottom right corner. Foord, Kerr, Fowler, Gorry, Tameka Yallop and Carpenter all converted their spot kicks. Cately and Arnold are being denied by the French goalkeeper. After France hit the post at 6-6, Cortnee Vine calmly slotted her penalty into the bottom corner and sent Australian fans into ecstasy. A feeling of ‘cloud nine’. Reaching the Semi-Final is not just the furthest the Matildas have ever gone, it’s the furthest ANY Australian football team has ever gone in a World Cup.

During a recent interview, Emily Vanegmond states exactly 10 years ago, she played her first ever Matildas game and “there was maybe a couple of thousand people.” Now, we have reached the Women’s world cup. As stated above, Caitlin Foord says “This world cup, it’s going to change football in Australia forever.” Can they, do it?

Is this just the beginning of female football? It all comes down to Wednesday, 16th August, 8 pm. Australia takes on England in the Semi-Final. To make History. Will this thrilling showdown be remembered as a turning point in women’s football?


Let’s go Matildas!!

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  • AlannahAug 17, 2023 at 10:08 am

    I love your work Miller, so inspirational