Westfield Matildas timeline: an incredible few years

In early 2014 the Westfield Matildas played Brazil in a pre-Asian Cup friendly in Brisbane, with just over 2500 fans there to watch the Samba stars win 1-0.

Just over three years on and more than almost 32,000 fans have watched Australia’s women’s football team in a two-game friendly series against Brazil.

Saturday’s sell-out match in Penrith was backed up by a record 16,829 fans in Newcastle on Tuesday night as the Westfield Matildas went prime time under lights in the Hunter.

Not only were those crowds records for non-competitive international female sport in Australia – for any code - it even out-numbered an AFL finals match down the road in Sydney’s west on the weekend.

How good is that! 

It’s a sign of this group of Westfield Matildas have captured the imagination of the nation and a reward for their excellent results and performances in recent years.

We chart the remarkable rise of the Westfield Matildas over the last few years and it proves just how far Alen Stajcic’s impressive side has come.


The Westfield Matildas were pitted in the ‘group of death’ alongside the USA, African champions Nigeria and European heavyweights Sweden. And despite going down in the opening match to America, a win over Nigeria and draw with the Swedes to make the knockout stages. In an historic round of 16 clash against Brazil, Kyah Simon’s 80th-minute strike handed the Aussies a 1-0 win and first-ever knockout stage win at the World Cup. Unfortunately, AFC rivals Japan got a late goal to win a hard-fought quarter final 1-0 to end the Westfield Matildas’ incredible run at the tournament.

Game 1: Westfield Matildas 1-3 USA

Goal: Lisa De Vanna 27’

Crowd: 31148 at Winnipeg Stadium.

Goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri makes a second-half save to deny USA.

Game 2: Westfield Matildas 2-0 Nigeria

Goals: Kyah Simon 29’ and 68’

Crowd: 32,716 at Winnipeg Stadium

Kyah Simon on the ball against Nigeria.

Game 3: Westfield Matildas 1-1 Sweden

Goal: Lisa De Vanna 5’

Crowd: 10,177 at Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton

Matildas players acknowledge the crowd after their 1-1 draw with Sweden.

Round of 16: Westfield Matildas 1-0 Brazil

Goal: Kyah Simon 80’

Crowd: 12,054 Moncton Stadium

Kyah Simon fired home a late goal which proved to be the winner when the Matildas beat Brazil at the World Cup in Canada.

Quarter Final: Westfield Matildas 0-1 Japan

Crowd: 19,814 at Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton


Six nations, five games in 10 days, with two spots at the Rio Olympic Games on the line. The equation was simple but the task was difficult for the Westfield Matildas. But we needn’t have worried as Stajcic’s side continued their form from the previous year’s World Cup to cruise through the qualifying tournament. Four wins – including revenge on World Cup finalists Japan – saw the Westfield Matildas qualify for their first Olympics for 12 years with a game to spare before a draw with China in the final match. Rio, here we come!

Game 1: Westfield Matildas 3-1 Japan

Goals: Lisa De Vanna 25’, Michelle Heyman 41, Katrina Gorry 78’

Crowd: 4988 at Kincho Stadium, Osaka

Michelle Heyman runs off to celebrate her goal in the game against Japan on Monday night.

Game 2: Westfield Matildas 9-0 Vietnam

Goals: Emily Gielnik 10’ Kyah Simon 17’, 38’ and 43’, Alanna Kennedy 19’, Ashleigh Sykes 64’, Emily van Egmond 68’, Michelle Heyman 77’, Clare Polkinghorne 85’

Crowd: 129 at Yanmar Stadium Nagai

Westfield Matildas Kyah Simon and Steph Catley celebrate a goal against Vietnam.

Game 3: Westfield Matildas 2-0 South Korea

Goals: Kyah Simon 1’, Emily van Egmond 14’ (pen)

Crowd: 1124 at Yanmar Stadium Nagai

Emily van Egmond

Game 4: Westfield Matildas 2-1 North Korea

Goals: Michelle Heyman 18’, Katrina Gorry 84’

Crowd: 900 at Yanmar Stadium Nagai

Co-captain Clare Polkinghorne leads the celebrations following the Matildas' win over DPR Korea.

Game 5: Westfield Matildas 1-1 China

Goal: Emily van Egmond 85’

Crowd: 250 at Yanmar Stadium Nagai


One of the pre-Olympic favourites, the Westfield Matildas made a shaky start in Rio by losing their opening group match against Canada. A well-deserved draw with powerhouses Germany meant a big win over Zimbabwe ensured the Aussies made the quarter finals. It was the host nation that awaited Stajcic’s troops in the last night, with the gripping contest settled via a dramatic – and controversial – penalty shootout.

Game 1: Westfield Matildas 0-2 Canada

Crowd: 20,521 at Corinthians Arena, Sao Paulo

Lydia Williams looks on during a match for Australia at last year's Rio Olympic Games.

Game 2: Westfield Matildas 2-2 Germany

Goals: Sam Kerr 6’, Caitlin Foord 44’

Crowd: 37,475 at Corinthians Arena, Sao Paulo

Sam Kerr celebrates scoring against Germany at the Rio Games.

Game 3: Westfield Matildas 6-1 Zimbabwe

Goals: Lisa De Vanna 2’, Clare Polkinghorne 15’, Alanna Kennedy 37’, Kyah Simon 50’, Michelle Heyman 55’, 66’

Crowd: Unknown at Fonte Nova Arena, Salvador

The Australian Women's Football Team celebrate one of their six goals against Zimbabwe at the Games.

Quarter Final: Westfield Maildas 0-0 Brazil (Brazil won 7-6 on penalties)

Crowd: 52660 at Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte

Katrina Gorry v Brazil at Olympics


The Westfield Matildas were invited to take part in the four-nation tournament with some of the world’s best nations, USA, Japan and Brazil. And the Aussies quickly showed they meant business, pulling off an historic first win over host-nation America thanks to Tameka Butt’s second-half goal. Not done with there, they came out three days later to dispose of Japan – with Kerr stealing the show – before securing the silverware with a drubbing of Brazil. The Westfield Matildas had a perfect three-from-three to be crowned Tournament of Nations champions!

Game 1: Westfield Matildas 1-0 USA

Goal: Tameka Butt 67’

Crowd: 15,748 at Century Link Field, Seattle

The Matildas celebrate Tameka Butt's goal in their win over the USA.

Game 2: Westfield Matildas 4-2 Japan

Goals: Sam Kerr 11’, 16’ and 43’, van Egmond 62’ (pen)

Crowd: 9597 at Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

Kerr flip

Game 3: Westfield Matildas 6-1 Brazil

Goals: Lisa De Vanna 7’, 34’, Caitlin Foord 32’, 68’, Katrina Gorry 41, Sam Kerr 81’

Crowd: 11,948 at StubHub Centre, Carson

Lisa De Vanna celebrates one of her goals in the Westfield Matildas' big win over Brazil at the Tournament of Nations.


Australian fans couldn’t wait to get a close up look at the Westfield Matildas and turned out in record numbers to watch this side play. A sell-out crowd in Penrith on Saturday afternoon saw a stunning 2-1 win, before almost 17,000 turned out on a school night in the Hunter as Sam Kerr inspired Australia to another triumph over a clearly frustrated Samba outfit. That’s now five win in a row for Stajcic’s side as they continue to build ominously towards next year’s AFC Asian Cup and the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Game 1: Westfield Matildas 2-1 Brazil

Goals: Lisa De Vanna 41’, Sam Kerr 67’

Crowd: 15,089 at Pepper Stadium, Penrith

The Westfield Matildas celebrate a goal.

Game 2: Westfield Matildas 3-2 Brazil

Goals: Sam Kerr 38‘, 66’, Caitlin Foord 47’

Crowd: 16,829 at McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle