USA players celebrate winning the Women’s World Cup in France last year. Picture: Getty Images
USA players celebrate winning the Women’s World Cup in France last year. Picture: Getty Images

Matildas lock in home clashes against world champs USA

The world champions are headed for Australia, ready to renew their rivalry with the Matildas.

As Ante Milicic's side prepares to face China tonight on the road to the Olympics, it can be revealed that the US women's national team has locked in three games against the Matildas, with two of them to be played on Australian soil next year.

The US team, including stars like Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe, will first take on Australia in April in Utah, in what it's hoped will be an Olympic preparation game for both sides, before travelling here for a double header in November next year.

After winning the World Cup last July, the US have already booked their place at the Olympics and are bidding to become the first team in history to win a gold medal while also being world champions.

 

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The Matildas hope to follow suit by beating China tonight and then winning a home-and-away playoff next month against South Korea or Vietnam to secure a place at the Tokyo Olympics.

The games against the Americans add to a series of high-profile fixtures lined up for the green and gold, travelling to Vancouver to take on Canada in April four days after facing the US, and then hosting the Canadian side - ranked eighth in the world - for two games later this year.

The Matildas have shared several epic encounters with the US in the recent past, beating them for the first time in 2017 on the way to winning the Tournament of Nations before going down 5-3 in a pre-World Cup friendly last year.

The games in Australia, which state governments will bid to host, will America's first visit here since the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

 

USA star Megan Rapinoe celebrates scoring a goal at the Women's World Cup. Inset: Matidas captain Sam Kerr.
USA star Megan Rapinoe celebrates scoring a goal at the Women's World Cup. Inset: Matidas captain Sam Kerr.

The two teams are well known to each other at club level, with a host of the Australians including Kerr, Caitlin Foord and Steph Catley having played in the US National Womens' Soccer League - where Kerr is the all-time leading goalscorer with 77 in 199 games before joining Chelsea last month.

"The US just never stop running, it's not only a physical battle against them but a mental one too," said goalkeeper Lydia Williams.

"We'll be able to put our talents up against one of the best sides in the world. It's exciting that we get to play them in Utah, but even more so that they'll come here next year for the first time since 2000.

"The games will be a good benchmark of where we're at, and a chance to play in front of our fans against a team like that. The US have a good following of supporters but we love the patriotism of our fans too.

"Hopefully we will win our bid to host the 2023 World Cup, and games like this would just roll towards it."


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