‘It’s really happening’: Carpenter says Matildas ready as World Cup opener looms

Ellie Carpenter says the realisation they are about to begin their FIFA Women’s World Cup journey has hit the Matildas with just two sleeps until their opening game against Italy in Valenciennes.

Ante Milicic put his squad through their first training session on French soil on Thursday, with around 300 locals on hand to watch the Australian women go through their paces.

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It continued a rousing welcome the squad has experienced since arriving at their base, from being serenaded by classical musicians at the team hotel to receiving gifts from local children.

“When we all arrived here yesterday we got the feeling that it’s real, it’s really happening,” an excited Carpenter said.

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“Just with the [welcome] ceremony and everything, all the girls are really excited to be here and we can’t wait.

The Matildas had their first session in France at the Stade Municipal St. Amand Les Eaux
Ellie Carpenter (21) says the Matildas are solely focused on the game against Italy on Sunday

“For me, I am really excited for this tournament.

“I might still be young, but I have a fair bit of experience and I do see myself, not as one of the senior players, but as a player that has lots of experience. So I am really excited and I can’t wait for this World Cup.”

Carpenter said a couple of minor “touch-ups in defence” was all that was needed following last weekend’s loss to the Netherlands in their final World Cup warm-up match.

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But – as it has since the squad first arrived in camp in Turkey last month – the focus remains on the opening clash with the Italians at the Stade du Hainaut on Sunday night (AEST).

“I think Italy is a great team and everyone in this tournament is at the top of their game. Every game is going to be tough,” Carpenter said.

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All our focus is on that first game against Italy. That’s all we have been focusing on now for weeks and I think we are all ready for it.”

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