Matildas squad to take on the world announced
The Matildas will be looking to replicate the success of the Socceroos in Germany last year said coach Tom Sermanni when he today announced the Australian squad for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in China next month.
The Matildas will be looking to replicate the success of the Socceroos in Germany last year said coach Tom Sermanni when he today announced the Australian squad for the FIFA Women-s World Cup in China next month.
The 21-strong squad will again be led by long-serving captain Cheryl Salisbury who is not only the most capped male or female Australian international player but also the record Australian international goalscorer. The 33-year-old is also set to join an elite group of players in the world to have played at four World Cups.
Fellow Novocastrian Joanne Peters will be looking to appear at a third World Cup, as will Adelaide-raised defender Dianne Alagich.
Other players who have already represented Australia at a World Cup are goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri, defenders Heather Garriock and Rhian Davies, plus midfielders Danielle Small and Alicia Ferguson.
The squad is a mixture of youth and experience with Sally Shipard, Collette McCallum, Lydia Williams and Clare Polkinghorne all graduates of the Young Matildas team which played at last year-s FIFA U-20 Women-s World Cup in Russia.
Australia have been drawn into Group C alongside Norway, Canada and Ghana.
“I have confidence in this group of players that we will be able to replicate the success of the Socceroos at last year-s World Cup who like us went into the tournament somewhat as outsiders,” said Matildas coach Tom Sermanni.
“Selecting the squad was a difficult proposition given we have such a strong group of players so narrowing the squad down was a more complex task than might have been the case in previous tournaments.
“I am very happy with the quality and balance of the squad, which is a good blend of youth and experience.
“All four teams in our group will fancy their chances of progressing to the knockout stage. The popular perception will be that Norway and Canada will progress and that suits us fine. Our players are both capable and confident of progressing from the group stage and we would go into any match knowing that we have the capabilities to win.”
Norway, the top seeded nation in the group, won the FIFA Women-s World Cup in 1995 as well as the gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and are ranked four in the world. Canada were semi finalists at the 2003 World Cup and have a current world ranking of nine. Ghana are the lowest ranked team in the tournament at 47 but the Africans have denied the Matildas at the last two tournaments recording a win and a draw in their only two meetings against Australia.
Australia will open their campaign against Ghana on September 12 in Hangzhou, followed by the match against Norway on September 15 in the same city before the final group match against Canada on September 19 in Chengdu.
The top two teams in Australia-s group will progress to the quarter finals and meet the top two teams of Group D which features China, Denmark, Brazil and New Zealand.
Australia, who have appeared in three previous FIFA Women-s World Cups dating back to their first appearance in 1995, are yet to win a match at a finals tournament. However the team are now ranked 15 in the world and under Sermanni have achieved a number of credible results against top ten nations including victories over Germany and China, and draws against DPR Korea and USA.
Australia qualified for the tournament after a second place finish at last year-s AFC Asian Women-s Cup where they lost the final on penalties to China, and in the process only narrowly failed to become the first Australian team to win an Asian championship.
Female participation in Australia has grown enormously in recent years with females comprising nearly 20 per cent of the registered players. There are now just on 100,000 registered players in Australia with numbers having grown by over 16 per cent in just one year between 2005 and 2006.
The Matildas squad for the 2007 FIFA Women-s World Cup:
Goalkeepers - Melissa Barbieri (Melbourne), Lydia Williams (Canberra), Emma Wirkus (Adelaide)
Defenders - Di Alagich (Sydney), Rhian Davies (Sydney), Heather Garriock (Sydney), Kate McShea (Brisbane), Clare Polkinghorne (Brisbane), Cheryl Salisbury (Newcastle), Thea Slatyer (Sydney)
Midfielders - Lauren Colthorpe (Newcastle), Alicia Ferguson (Brisbane), Collette McCallum (Perth), Joanne Peters (Newcastle), Sally Shipard (Canberra), Danielle Small (Sydney)
Forwards - Joanne Burgess (Sydney), Lisa DeVanna (Perth), Kate Gill (Newcastle), Caitlin Munoz (Canberra), Sarah Walsh (Sydney) (current home city)
NIKE STRIP The Nike strip that the women-s national teams will now wear was also launched today. As the official Performance Partner of the FFA and its national teams, Nike has designed a kit that is engineered specifically for women. The new Matildas- kit incorporates some of Nike-s most innovative performance technologies including Nike Dri-FIT, a fabrication that draws sweat from the skin and moves it to the outside of the garment for rapid evaporation, keeping the athlete drier and more comfortable.
SBS TV will broadcast a selection of matches from the 2007 FIFA Women-s World Cup including LIVE coverage of ALL Matildas matches, both semi-finals and the final.
Broadcast Schedule:- Wednesday 12 September Ghana v Australia LIVE @ 6.50pm (AEST)
Saturday 15 September Australia v Norway LIVE @ 9.50pm (AEST)
Wednesday 19 September Australia v Canada LIVE @ 6.50pm (AEST)
Wednesday 26 September 1st Semi-Final LIVE @ 9.50pm (AEST)
Thursday 27 September 2nd Semi-Final LIVE @ 9.50pm (AEST)
Sunday 30 September Final LIVE @ 9.30pm (AEST)