Aivi Luik: A World Cup debut 25 years in the making
Persistence has finally paid off for Aivi Luik, after the long-time Matilda made her World Cup debut at the age of 34 in Wednesday morning’s 4-1 win over Jamaica.
The moment had been a long time coming for the Perth-born midfielder.
Having been part of Australia’s 2010 AFC Asian Cup triumph, Luik – who plays her club football in Spain for Levante – was overlooked for the 2011 and 2015 World Cup campaigns.
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Although a stalwart of the Matildas for close to a decade, the ex-Brisbane Roar player has found minutes hard to come by in recent times – with March’s Cup of Nations win against Korea Republic Luik's first start for the national team in seven years.
But the dream of representing her country at the World Cup never died. And after getting the attention of head coach Ante Milicic, the dream Luik had held since she was a young girl burst into reality at the Stade des Alpes in Grenoble.
“I’ve wanted to be here for 25 years,” an emotional Luik told www.matildas.com.au after the game. "It's a dream come true really.
“When I went on it was all business, but as soon as I came off and I saw my sister, brother and Lozzie [injured Matildas defender Laura Alleway] in the crowd… yeah, there were a lot of emotions.
“You could hear the Aussie supporters on every side of the stadium. With that support behind you, you can’t not play well.”
Born in WA to Hungarian and Swedish parents, Luik will be hoping that she does not have to wait quite as long for a second World Cup stint in Green and Gold – Australia are next in action in the Round of 16 on Sunday morning (AEST) against Norway.
AIVI LUIK: My Matildas Story
World Cup France 2019™ – Round of 16 - Next Australia match
Norway v Australia
Date: Sunday, 23 June 2019 (AEST)
Venue: Stade de Nice, Nice
Kick-off: 5.00am AEST (9.00pm local time, Saturday 22 June)
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