Matildas’ fever gripped the nation like nothing seen before during the team’s Women’s World Cup run in July and August.
And while Perth missed out on seeing the Tillies live during their run with all their games played over east, this week we’ll get the chance for our Matildas fix with the Aussie women in P-town for three Olympic qualifiers starting Thursday.
What’s going on?
The Matildas will take on Iran (Thursday 26 October at HBF Park), the Philippines (Sunday 29 at Optus Stadium) and Chinese Taipei (Wednesday 1 November at HBF Park) across the week. The other teams will also play each other each gameday as part of double-headers, so if you’ve got a ticket, you get access to see two games.
The games are all qualifiers for the 2024 Paris Olympics. Once all four nations have played each other once, the top team on the standings advances to the final stage of qualifying. Nations like Japan, Korea and/or China are likely to also qualify for this final qualifying stage, where two teams will book their spots for Paris. Australia competes in the Asian Football Confederation, hence our opposition.
These games are the Matildas’ first since their World Cup run, which included memorable wins over the Republic of Ireland, Canada, Denmark and France (in a wild and never-ending penalty shootout), before the gut-wrenching semi-final defeat to England.
Are the Matildas’ World Cup heroes playing?
Yep! The best news is Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson has selected the majority of the same group from the World Cup campaign, including WA’s own Sam Kerr who has been in decent form at Chelsea this season, thus we’ll get to see the stars.
World Cup heroes like Hayley Raso, Steph Catley, Mackenzie Arnold, Caitlin Foord and Mary Fowler have all been selected too, with only two changes for the 23-player group from the World Cup squad due to injury (Aivi Luik and Kyah Simon).
Kerr hasn’t played in Perth since her time with the Glory back in 2019, so it’ll be a homecoming for her and she’ll likely be a very, very popular and in-demand figure all week. The Matildas haven’t played in Perth since 2018 when they won 5-0 over Thailand in a friendly in front of just 7,549 fans. This time around will be quite different!
Who are the opposition?
The Matildas will be hot favourites to win all three games against 38th-ranked Chinese Taipei, 44th-ranked Philippines and 63rd-ranked Iran. The Philippines did compete at the Women’s World Cup this year, knocking off co-hosts New Zealand in a major upset, when they were coached by now-Perth Glory boss Alen Stajcic, but bowed out in the group stage.
How can you get tickets?
This is the bad news if you’ve not got a ticket yet. The two games at HBF Park (20,221 capacity) are practically sold out except for a few seats. At the time of writing, though, there were a few decent ones still available. Tickets actually sold out for Sunday’s Australia-Philippines game months ago, leading to Football Australia and the State Government shifting that fixture to the 60,000-seater Optus Stadium, but there’s only a few hundred tickets left at the time of writing. Go to Ticketmaster to try your luck.
There is also a free ticketed community festival on Friday October 27 at the new State Football Centre in Queens Park, but that’s also now sold out with approximately 4,000 attendees expected. If you’ve missed out altogether, you can watch the games live on Channel 10 and/or 10Play.
What have the Matildas been up to since the World Cup?
After a short break following the busy World Cup campaign, the bulk of the Matildas have been back into action at club level in Europe for the past month or so. There’s a handful in the A-League which started a fortnight ago, including Sydney FC’s Cortnee Vine and Brisbane Roar’s Tameka Yallop while Emily van Egmond has been playing regularly in the USA, where her team recently won the NWSL Shield (minor premiers).
Mary Fowler has provided three assists in her past three games for Man City in England, while Kerr has one goal and one assist in three games for Chelsea. Raso recently helped Real Madrid qualify for the UEFA Champions League and midfielder Kyra Cooney-Cross and back-up goalkeeper Teagan Micah landed recent transfers to Arsenal and Liverpool.
Thursday 26 October @ HBF Park
Chinese Taipei v Philippines (4pm)
Australia v Iran (7pm)
Sunday 29 October @ Optus Stadium
Australia v Philippines (3pm)
Iran v Chinese Taipei (6pm)
Wednesday 1 November @ HBF Park
Philippines v Iran (4pm)
Australia v Chinese Taipei (7pm)