Kellond-Knight: Bright future beckons for Matildas

Midfielder Elise Kellond-Knight says the strides the Westfield Matildas have made at this World Cup has her anticipating even bigger things in four years’ time.

A late Mana Iwabuchi goal ended the Matildas’ semi-final hopes on Sunday (AEST), bringing down the curtain on a memorable tournament by this young and energetic squad.

MATCH REPORT: Heartbreak as brave Matildas fall to Japan

While they will undoubtedly be disappointed by defeat, the Matildas can look back fondly on a breakthrough tournament in Canada.

And it’s something Kellond-Knight believes can be a springboard to even better results in the future.

“I’m so proud of the girls. The way we fought until the end, the way we did make history and did so by winning a knockout game,” the classy midfielder told SBS.

“It’s unfortunate we didn’t go further, I’m absolutely shattered. But the future looks bright and I’m excited for 2019.

“We have so much potential. We’ve only had six months together really so imagine another four years. There’s so much potential.”

The Westfield Matildas starting side for their World Cup quarter-final against Japan in 2015.

The Matildas were forced to absorb pressure for long periods, especially in the first half, before improving after the break.

Kellond-Knight says she felt the Matildas were finishing the stronger heading towards extra-time before Iwabuchi broke their hearts with an 87th minute winner.

“We thought we were getting on top of them in the second half,” she said.

“The first half was a little bit shaky, we had to tweak some things at half time and we did that.

“I thought we had them under the pump and I think we had a few clear cut chances.

“It was a really tough match. We were facing the world’s best really,” Kellond-Knight added.

Japan players celebrate Mana Iwabuchi winner in Edmonton.

“The conditions were hard, it was hot out there and against a quality side that can keep the ball off you so it was tough work.”

Kellond-Knight was again one of the Matildas best, twice putting in crucial last-ditch tackles to block Japanese shots in the second half.

Her string of fine performances has her in strong contention to again be included in the FIFA World Cup Team of the Tournament, which will be announced after the final.

Matildas in article banner.