The Westfield Matildas kick off their last round of friendlies before Tokyo on June 11th, facing Denmark.
Here's everything you need to know about our upcoming match.
After a 396 day break from international football due the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent travel restrictions, the Westfield Matildas kicked off against Olympic champions and 2nd ranked nation Germany on the 11th April and the World Cup runners up The Netherlands four days later.
Many lessons were learnt in both matches with Australia defeated 5-2 by Germany and 5-0 to the Netherlands.
Gustavsson's intention was to play as hard of an opponent as possible, in preparation for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. The restriction of only having non-Australian based players to pick from added an extra challenge for the Westfield Matildas to overcome.
Despite the restriction, players who were previously on the fringe of the national team and had taken the risk of moving abroad to improve their football, got given their opportunity to play against the world's best. Beattie Goad, Indiah-Paige Riley, Alexandra Huynh and Dylan Holmes all made their international debuts, importantly adding depth to an already talented squad.
16th placed Denmark may be the lowest ranked side the Westfield Matildas have played since Tony Gustavsson took the helm, but looking at some of their past performances, Australia should be on guard for what the Danes have to offer.
Denmark's last performance before COVID-19 halted play was a 1-0 victory against regional rivals and European powerhouse Sweden. This has been followed up after lockdown with a 3-1 victory away in Italy, a side Australia infamously lost to in the 2019 Women's World Cup. Currently Denmark are on an undefeated run of nine international matches.
One of the major attacking threats that Gustavsson's side will need to stop is Denmark's Pernille Harder. Harder was a member of the deadly trio alongside Sam Kerr and Fran Kirby that helped guide Chelsea to the FA Women's Super League title and UEFA Women's Champions League final. Kerr's Australian teammates will be enquiring heavily on how to stop the prolific Dane once national team camp starts.
Compared to many European opponents, Denmark have not established any sort of rivalry with Australia, a reason for that may be that both haven't challenged the top sides internationally during the same time period, with both nation's current squads touted as their 'golden generation'.
Despite a lack of animosity between the teams, June's friendly will give the Westfield Matildas an opportunity to right the wrongs of the past. 3 matches have been played between the two, with Australia never having beaten the Scandinavian nation, losing twice, including a 5-0 thrashing back in 1995.
15 years have past since their last meeting, many things have changed and our Westfield Matildas have improved in leaps and bounds since then. June 11 may be the date where a new international rivalry is born, or at the very least, where Australia levelled out the results of the past.
Denmark v Westfield Matildas
Friday, 11 June 2021
Venue: CASA Arena, Horsens
Kick Off: 02:00 (AEST)
Broadcast: Live on Fox Sports, Kayo, ABC and My Football Live app
Please note that all dates & times listed are AEST. Kick-off in Denmark is on Thursday, 10 June 2021 at 6:00pm local time.