The superstars have arrived. The groups have settled in. The followers – those who’ve purchased 1.3 million tickets – are bursting. Everybody already agrees this Ladies’s World Cup would be the greatest.
In actual fact, it looms as the largest standalone ladies’s sporting occasion in historical past.
However past the hype and the World Cup fever, there is a nagging query at the back of everybody’s minds. Can the Matildas really do it? Can they – the No. 13 ranked crew on this planet – win all of it?
Basis Matildas captain Julie Dolan thinks so. Considered one of many biggest Matildas of all, Dolan says the present crop has what it takes to hoist the trophy in entrance of a house crowd.
Simply the considered it is sufficient to make the hairs behind your neck arise. You do not have to be a Matildas diehard, you simply must consider.
The Matildas start their marketing campaign with a match in opposition to Eire in Sydney on Thursday night time and sell-out crowds will observe them round Australia for his or her different two group video games in opposition to Nigeria and Canada.
Normally you throw out pre-tournament type as a result of “something can occur” when the Cup begins. However Dolan, who was 18 when she first captained Australia, says the pre-tournament type is precisely why she thinks the Matildas can go all the way in which.
“On condition that within the final three years Australia have been concerned in video games in opposition to among the higher groups on this planet, if not the very best groups on this planet and having scored some runs in opposition to them, I believe we’re shaping up fairly nicely,” she mentioned.
“And in addition what’s occurred over the previous three years is we have flooded lots of newer, youthful gamers, that we have by no means seen earlier than and now they’ve all received large match expertise.
“In the event that they’re on the park they’re fairly able to being on the primary crew but when they are not on the park, they will be equally nearly as good as any of the opposite common first crew.
“So total I am pretty assured that the women will go good. I believe it is also about believing in your self, believing in your crew mates.”
The majority of the Matildas squad relies in Europe. Over current years, they’ve stepped away from A-League Ladies’s duties in Australia and examined themselves in america, after which England, France, Italy and additional overseas to get essential expertise.
Sam Kerr is the star. Nobody disputes she’s probably the greatest people on this planet, however she’ll have to hold the likes of Ellie Carpenter, Caitlin Foord and others along with her to attain the final word aim.
And the journey to get to kick-off this week hasn’t at all times been easy.
Gustavsson has been underneath strain to carry out. There have been query marks about his ways over the previous two years, however Dolan mentioned the Swede had completed a sensational job in making ready the squad for the Cup.
“He coped a battering however he was provided that process to get video games in opposition to world class opposition and it is pointless enjoying in opposition to groups that aren’t even going to function within the World Cup,” Dolan mentioned.
“So we have now been enjoying in opposition to the world class groups and that was a part of his transient and one other a part of his transient was to get these new gamers in there as a result of a few of our gamers are ageing.
“So we’re searching for the long run in addition to attempting to deliver dwelling a World Cup. It has been an enormous ask and I believe he is completed a reasonably good job.”
But it surely will not be easy crusing. The USA are chasing a 3rd Cup win in a row, the Netherlands are out for revenge, Canada desires so as to add one other win after claiming Olympic Video games gold. The contenders are lining up.