Matildas Head Coach Alen Stajcic has named the 23-player squad for the FIFA Women's World Cup 2015™ Canada which will be held from 6 June to 5 July.
FOOTBALL: Matildas Head Coach Alen Stajcic has named the 23-player squad for the FIFA Women's World Cup 2015™ Canada which will be held from 6 June to 5 July.
The squad announcement follows an intense four-month preparation in Australia and Europe as the Matildas look towards their opening match of the FIFA Women's World Cup against world number two ranked USA on Tuesday 8 June (Wednesday 9 June AEST).
The squad comprises:
• 18 members of the Matildas squad that finished runners-up at last year's AFC Women's Asian Cup 2014 (Alleway, Bolger, Butt, Catley, De Vanna, Foord, Gorry, Heyman, Kellond-Knight, Kennedy, Kerr, Khamis, Polias, Polkinghorne, Raso, Sykes, van Egmond, Williams)
• 1 player heading to her fourth FIFA Women's World Cup (Hudson (nee Barbieri))
• 3 players heading to their third FIFA Women's World Cup (De Vanna, Polkinghorne, Williams)
• 10 players heading to their first FIFA Women's World Cup (Arnold, Bolger, Catley, Crummer, Gorry, Heyman, Kennedy, Polias, Raso, Sykes)
• An average age of 23
Since his appointment, Stajcic's intent has been for the Matildas to develop an exciting, attacking style of football for the Women's World Cup, and he believes this team is capable of taking those qualities onto the biggest stage in women's football.
"We have selected a positive squad with players that have a strong belief that they can go into any game and win," said Stajcic.
"Over the course of the last four months the composition of this final squad has changed every week, but as always I believe ‘players pick themselves' and the 23 players that have been selected thoroughly deserve to be in this squad and I am confident they will represent their country with distinction.
"The emphasis since we came together in January has been on expressing our Australian culture and the things this country is renowned to bring to any sporting contest, things like positivity, backing yourself and really taking it up to the opposition.
"We want to pride ourselves on a lot of these attributes that Australian teams have had for a long time, so it is about having that focus in this team and a belief that on any given day against any opponent we can come out and win.
"Considering the other teams we have in our group, it brings this philosophy into even sharper focus."
The Matildas showed during their recent European tour the wealth of creative and attacking options Stajcic has at his disposal, which includes recently crowned Julie Dolan Medallist Emily van Egmond.
Add in the likes of reigning Asian Female Player of the Year Katrina Gorry among a host of others and Stajcic knows it is a squad that can trouble any team and is more than capable of progressing from a tough group that consists of the number two ranked (USA) and fifth ranked (Sweden) countries in the world as well as the 2014 African Women's Champions (Nigeria).
"Going on from our philosophy and style of play, it's a dynamic, mobile team that can attack and score goals," said Stajcic.
"It is a team that has lots of variations in attack so I believe we can cause a threat to any team in the world, and the players that were picked were certainly picked with that in mind.
"Whether it's keeping possession and playing out from the back and controlling the tempo, to the fire power we have up front, we are confident we have all of the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that go into producing the mindset we need when we take the pitch."
Australia had the second youngest squad at the last Women's World Cup in Germany four years ago, and will go into the 2015 tournament with a blend of youth and experience.
Having last represented the Matildas in 2012, Hudson (nee Barbieri) will head into her fourth World Cup at the age of 35, while Queensland forward Larissa Crummer is the youngest member of the squad at 19 years of age.
Hudson is one of the three goalkeepers alongside Lydia Williams and Perth based Mackenzie Arnold, who was named W-League 2015 Goalkeeper of the Year at last night's Awards.
Tameka Butt, Samantha Kerr, Leena Khamis, Kyah Simon and Williams all made the cut after overcoming injuries, Williams and Khamis having both recovered from their second knee reconstructions.
"We now have our World Cup squad finalised, and now it is left with this group to carry the torch into taking on the world's best," said Stajcic.
"While it is a credit to the girls that have made it, we have achieved nothing yet as a team and there is still a lot of hard work to be done to achieve our potential."
The announcement of the captain will be made at a special function for the Matildas being hosted by His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia on Monday 18 May 2015.
Matildas – FIFA Women's World Cup 2015™ squad
Number Name Date of Birth Position Club A International Caps (Goals)
1 Lydia Williams (gk) 13/05/1988 Goalkeeper Washington Spirit 40 (0)
2 Larissa Crummer 10/01/1996 Forward Brisbane Roar 4 (1)
3 Ashleigh Sykes 15/12/1991 Midfielder Canberra United 12 (4)
4 Clare Polkinghorne 1/02/1989 Defender Brisbane Roar 78 (5)
5 Laura Alleway 28/11/1989 Defender Brisbane Roar 30 (1)
6 Servet Uzunlar 8/03/1989 Defender Sydney FC 45 (2)
7 Steph Catley 26/01/1994 Defender Melbourne Victory 32 (1)
8 Elise Kellond-Knight 10/08/1990 Defender Brisbane Roar 55 (1)
9 Caitlin Foord 11/11/1994 Forward Perth Glory 28 (3)
10 Emily van Egmond 12/07/1993 Midfielder Newcastle Jets 39 (10)
11 Lisa De Vanna 14/11/1984 Forward Melbourne Victory 97 (33)
12 Leena Khamis 19/06/1986 Midfielder Sydney FC 23 (5)
13 Tameka Butt 16/06/1991 Midfielder Brisbane Roar 45 (6)
14 Alanna Kennedy 21/01/1995 Midfielder Perth Glory 27 (0)
15 Teresa Polias 16/05/1990 Midfielder Sydney FC 8 (0)
16 Hayley Raso 5/09/1994 Midfielder Brisbane Roar 12 (1)
17 Kyah Simon 25/06/1991 Forward Sydney FC 49 (10)
18 Melissa Hudson (gk) 20/01/1980 Goalkeeper Adelaide United 84 (0)
19 Katrina Gorry 13/08/1992 Midfielder Brisbane Roar 29 (10)
20 Samantha Kerr 10/09/1993 Forward Perth Glory 36 (5)
21 Mackenzie Arnold (gk) 25/02/1994 Goalkeeper Perth Glory 6 (0)
22 Nicola Bolger 3/03/1993 Midfielder Sydney FC 5 (0)
23 Michelle Heyman 4/07/1988 Forward Canberra United 33 (11)
Matildas FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 Canada – Group Matches
USA v Matildas
Monday 8 June 2015
Winnipeg Stadium, Winnipeg (Kick-Off 6.30pm local, 9.30am AEST Thursday 9 June)
Matildas v Nigeria
Friday 12 June 2015
Winnipeg Stadium, Winnipeg (Kick-Off 4.00pm local, 7.00am AEST Saturday 13 June)
Matildas v Sweden
Tuesday 16 June 2015
Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton (Kick-Off 6.00pm local, 10.00am AEST Wednesday 17 June)