Squad Announcement Talking Points: Canada v CommBank Matildas

Tony Gustavsson spoke to the media after naming his 23-player squad to face Canada in a two-match series in December, their final internationals for 2023 that will see them take on the world number 10 at Starlight Stadium in Victoria before closing out the year at BC Place in Vancouver.

See the squad for the upcoming two-match series, and hear all the talking points from the squad announcement. 

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The 23-player squad carries over significant experience from the recent Paris 2024™ Asian Qualifiers with 20 members of that squad retained.

After featuring as a train-on-player last camp, Brighton & Hove Albion’s Charlize Rule has earned a full call-up, while defender Aivi Luik has recovered from injury to assist BK Häcken to second in the Swedish League. Fresh off a hat trick last weekend, A-League Women’s Golden Boot leader Holly McNamara rounds out the new faces as the 20-year-old returns to the national team for her first call-up since April 2023.

"It's a squad that was based on performance in the last camp and also performance at club level. There's been a lot of players that have performed really well as of late, and as you saw in the last qualifiers in October there were a lot of players that took the chance. I gave a lot of players a chance, and some of them took it." Gustavsson started. 

"You look at players like Amy Sayer, I think had a very, very good camp and deserves to be back in again. Clare Wheeler had a fantastic camp. Charlie Rule looked really good in training, so she was a train-on but is now full into the squad, and also based on the minutes that she's played with Brighton." he continued.

Aivi Luik is another familiar face that returns to the squad, after missing out on the Paris 2024™ Asian Round 2 Qualifiers through injury. The defender has been flying in Sweden, helping BK Häcken to a second-place finish in the league and fresh off being named in the UEFA Women's Champions League Team of the Week after playing 90 minutes for Häcken in their 2-1 victory over Paris FC. 

"She's (Aivi) has been phenomenal for Häcken once again, in the league but especially in the Champions League where she's been really good against top opposition. So she's back in the squad." 

"It's a mix of continuity in an Olympic year post-World Cup but also spiced with some young exciting player that we believe can fit in the way we want to play now,"

One young face coming into camp is Melbourne City's Holly McNamara, who was last called into camp in April 2023 but has been in scintillating form in the A-League Women’s. 

"I selected her back in April but she wasn't really ready at that time to be in the senior Matildas' environment for different reasons. She needed more time to get back from that ACL and play continuously and we said, 'Let's not stress her, let her have her time' which was important. She might have been a contender for a World Cup roster (spot) otherwise to be really honest." 

Gustavsson touched on some exclusions from the squad that represented Australia during the Paris 2024™ Asian Round 2 Qualifiers. 

"(Cortnee) Vine has a hamstring injury that she sustained in the last camp that she is still coming back from. Alex Chidiac is purely performance, I didn't have room for her this camp, it's based on performances in the last camp and the limited minutes she's had in clubland."

“We know plenty about Canada with some fierce battles over the past 18 months,” Gustavsson said. “These final 180 minutes of the year against a nation that has already qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games are the type of preparation matches that are invaluable for the players.”

The CommBank Matildas’ final internationals of 2023 will be available in Australia live and free on Network 10 and live on Paramount+.


Canada v CommBank Matildas 
Date: Friday, 1 December 2023 (local) / Saturday, 2 December (AEDT) 
Kick-off: 7.30pm PST (local) / 2.30pm (AEDT) 
Venue: Starlight Stadium, Langford, BC 
Broadcast: Network 10 and Paramount+

Canada v CommBank Matildas 
Date: Tuesday, 5 December 2023 (local) / Wednesday, 6 December (AEDT) 
Kick-off: 7.00pm PST (local) / 2.00pm (AEDT) 
Venue: BC Place, Vancouver, BC 
Broadcast: Network 10 and Paramount+