Sports

Matildas face ‘very, very tough’ draw at women’s World Cup

Australia are excited to be facing old foes Brazil, as well as Italy and Jamaica, in their Women's World Cup group in France next year.

Key points:

  • The Women's World Cup will take place in France, stating June 7
  • The Matildas will face Brazil, Italy and Jamaica in Group C
  • Australia have beaten Brazil in their last four meetings

Alen Stajcic's side discovered its fate following a high-profile draw in Paris early on Sunday morning (AEST) that leaves them primed as one of the favourites for progression from Group C.

Their upcoming clash with Brazil will evoke memories of Australia's memorable victory over the South Americans at the 2015 World Cup when they claimed a superb 1-0 victory to reach the quarter-finals.

The match will also pit Australia's world-class attacker Sam Kerr against veteran Marta, both of whom were in the running for the Best FIFA Women's Player this year, which the Brazilian won.

Tameka Butt battles for possession against Brazil

The Matildas lost to Brazil at the Rio Olympics in a heartbreaking quarter-final penalty shootout but have won all four matches against them since the 2016 Games.

Stajcic admitted he's relishing the chance to face the world-ranked 10th team once again.

"The first immediate instinct is, it wouldn't be a major football tournament for the Matildas unless we had to play Brazil — 2007, 2011, 2015 and now 2019, and the Olympics we've crossed with Brazil," he said.

"So very exciting to be playing them again, and we've beaten each other so many times over the past few tournaments so it's just exciting to be playing them again."

Australia will kick-start their campaign against Italy at the Stade du Hainaut in Valenciennes on Sunday, June 9 before meeting Brazil at the Stade de la Mosson in Montpellier four days later.

They will complete their group stage matches against Jamaica's Reggae Girlz at Grenoble's Stade des Alpes on June 18.

Australia have only played the Italians once since 2009, claiming a 5-2 victory in 2014, while the showdown with Jamaica will be a first match between the two countries.

"Italy — we haven't played [them] in a major tournament — good up-and-coming team, new professional league in Italy, very tough opponent," Stajcic said.

"Jamaica had a really good qualifying campaign, so very, very tough draw for us but very exciting and can't wait to put all our preparations in place to meet all those three fantastic countries."

External Link: FIFWWC tweet: CONFIRMED Here are your groups for the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019!

As one of the seeded nations for the tournament, the world number six-ranked team knew they would avoid defending champions United States, hosts France and powerhouses Germany, England and Canada.

Gunning for their first World Cup triumph, the Matildas should be confident of getting to the knockout stages as the top two sides in each of the six groups, as well as four third-placed finishers, will make it through to the last 16.

Australia will finalise a base camp, travel and their warm-up match schedule for the lead-up to the tournament in the days following the draw.

Meanwhile, three-time winners USA, the only country to win the World Cup more than twice, will be among the favourites for more glory after receiving a favourable Group F draw with Thailand, Chile and Sweden.

New Zealand, yet to make the knock-out stages at a World Cup, are in Group E with Canada, European champions the Netherlands and Cameroon.

The tournament kicks off in on June 7 when first-time hosts France play the opening match against South Korea in Paris, with Lyon hosting the final on July 7.

AAP

Original Article