World Cup dress rehearsal excites CommBank Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson

While every opportunity to get the Commonwealth Bank Matildas together is an important one, this friendly series against the United States is extra special. 

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Head coach Tony Gustavsson has selected a 25-player squad ahead of the matches in Sydney and Newcastle. As with every squad selected so far this year, there has been a combined focus on short-term results alongside future-proofing and developing squad depth.

This roster is also the last one before a squad must be selected for the AFC Women's Asian Cup which kicks off in January 2022. 

"When we selected the roster, we looked at a lot of things. The first thing we looked at was, this is actually the last camp before an announcement of a roster going into the Asian Cup, so we felt we needed to get some final answers and also some fine-tuning leading into that," Gustavsson explained. 

"So it's two things parallel in this last camp. One is to get answers in the roster decision, but one is also that final preparation before going into the tournament so it's actually kind of two parallel processes in this camp.

"You can see that in the selection as well, where there's a core group of players that have been around for a while and have a lot of experience, but at the same time, we're always going to have an eye on the future to get some answers on whether they can give us the depth moving into '23."

Those eyes on the future include the call-ups of 17-year-old Jessika Nash and 18-year-old Charlize Rule - the only uncapped players in the squad.

They join fellow teenagers in the squad Mary Fowler, Bryleeh Henry, Kyra Cooney-Cross, and Courtney Nevin. 

"You've seen this year that we've brought up a lot of young players into our system, maybe more than normal, but we're at the point where we need to do that now. So again, it's two parallel processes in this roster going into this camp."  

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While the friendlies will once again provide valuable time together for the squad, they also are the perfect setting for what will be a grandstand finish to 2021.

"This first game against the US, we're never going to get closer to replicate the World Cup final before the World Cup," Gustavsson told media.

"This first game against the US is going to be played in the same stadium that the World Cup final is going to be played at and we're playing the number one ranked team in the world in that stadium, hopefully with a record-breaking crowd." 

Gustavsson has urged fans to get amongst it and experience this 2023 dress rehearsal for themselves. 

"What I would say to the fans out there is don't miss out on this chance. Don't miss out on the chance to go watch that game, because you can't get closer to an experience that is very similar to World Cup final than this one."