After an incredible last 12 months for the Westfield Matildas, 2018 is set to be just as huge with some blockbuster games and massive tournaments to look forward to.
The first of those comes in late February as Alen Stajcic takes his squad to the annual Algarve Cup in Portugal.
The Westfield Matildas finished fourth at the tournament last year but as the highest-ranked nation at the event in 2018, will start favourites to go all the way.
We’ve picked out three players that will be key to Australia’s hopes of taking out the title.
One of the unheralded stars of the Westfield Matildas rise, the gifted defender plays a significant role for the side.
Kennedy has the ability to start attacks, whether it be with her incisive passes or making driving runs forward from the back to create space for others.
With Australia’s possession-based, attacking style likely to ensure they are often on the front-foot and in opposition territory, Kennedy’s role will be vital in keeping the backdoor shut at all times.
EMILY VAN EGMOND
Midfield is one of the Westfield Matildas’ strongest positions and in van Egmond Australia have one of the world’s best.
Van Egmond is your typical box-to-box midfielder, her superb athleticism a real feature of her game, while technically she is second to none.
Her combination with the likes of Elise Kellond-Knight and Katrina Gorry allows the Westfield Matildas to dominate possession and provide the ammunition for the strikers.
Australia’s golden girl was on another level in 2017 and is primed for another big year in the green and gold.
Now that’s a scary proposition for the Westfield Matildas’ rivals!
Kerr has the ability to score all types of goals, whether it’s getting in behind with her speed or striking from distance.
And with 11 goals in her last six outings for Australia, she’ll take some stopping in Portugal.