With just over nine months until the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada, every player in and around the Matildas squad is on notice.
There is going to be a new coach, whether interim boss Alen Stajcic is re-instated in the role or there’s a totally a new appointment.
The great thing about the Westfield W-League is it puts the spotlight on Matildas players to be able to perform consistently.
We all know what they can do on an international stage but over a three-month period they really need to be outstanding and show the difference between themselves and other Westfield W-League players.
If they aren’t doing that it allows other players to step up and take their place. I’m really excited about watching the likes of Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord. They really need to be standout players in the Westfield W-League otherwise it opens up opportunities for others.
Then there’s Katie Gill as well. She’s just passed Cheryl Salisbury as leading scorer for the Matildas so she is an important player for the national team.
I don’t think she got a lot of game time at the Asia Cup and I know she’d like to get herself back on the scoresheet and try and push spot in the World Cup squad next year.
They performed so well at the Asian Cup, only losing the final to world champions Japan but they have to build on it.
As a whole the core of this group is in a really good place and it’s a pretty exciting team to be taking to the World Cup next year. The great thing is competition among the group is pretty high.
For a long time Lydia Williams had that no.1 goal-keeping spot secured. Now she has Brianna Davey knocking on the door.
Brianna has been around for a while but she’s still only 19 and could possibly be starting at World Cup which would be a dream come true.
Of course there is the unknown ahead like injuries. The Matildas have been unlucky recently in suffering injuries to a lot of key players.
It’s something that’s been looked at closely. We have a lot of research and we’re working on an implementation plan now and that will help us for the future.
The Matildas have a very strenuous warm-up now which they go through to be able to eliminate these major injuries they’ve been having.
It’s vital because the pool of players we have isn’t as deep as say the US national team. So the players we do have we have to look after really well.
We can’t afford to lose someone like we did in Kyah Simon for a year because you miss a lot of football and it takes longer than a year to come back.
But heading towards a World Cup you can really feel the excitement building in the team.
Internally the players want to make the semi-finals at least and a Matildas squad has never gone that far before.
Can they do it? Why not? I really believe it’s a realistic goal for them.
The draw will be important but anything can happen at a World Cup. You play three games and it only takes one of those powerhouses to have a slow start or an off-day and you can snatch a win against a Germany or USA.
I think the gap between the so-called powerhouses and the lower ranked nations in terms of the teams ranked around near the top 10 is really closing.
There’s no reason why there can’t be upset in the group matches. That’s what the World Cup does, it’s puts the powerhouses under-pressure to perform when they have to.
The Matildas just have to make sure they are ready to pounce.