Speaking with the press ahead of the series, Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson said the matches against the world No. 10 team would serve as "critical" preparation for their upcoming battle with Uzbekistan in February, for a spot in the 2024 Olympic Games women's football tournament.
“These final 180 minutes of the year against a nation that has already qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games are the type of preparation matches that are invaluable for the players."
“Our selected squad continues to meld established performers with some new players that have impressed in their league form recently," he added.
“The two matches will allow us to continue evolving our play heading into the final phase of Olympic qualification and beyond against a challenging opponent."
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As for the individual players – Sam Kerr has a contract with the UK soccer team, Chelsea for another year. Given the Aussie athlete has helped secure the team seven of ten domestic trophies, we doubt they’ll let Sam go anytime soon, and nor does she want to leave.
“I feel like I have a lot more to give,” she told the Telegraph.
“It’s about still getting better and you can’t look into the future, but I see myself going bigger and better than what I am now and hopefully continue winning trophies with this team and go from there.”
Sadly for fans, Sam Kerr will not be competing in Canada and has withdrawn from the squad due to a foot injury. She is joined by fellow World Cup favourites Mackenzie Arnold, Charlotte Grant, Courtnee Vine, and Holly McNamara who have also all been benched due to injuries.
The next FIFA Women’s World Cup won’t be held until 2027 – a lot can happen in four years.
“We have to play at our club. We have to play well and stay injury-free. There might be a few more babies maybe. I don’t know. Four years is a long time but I hope the core group is still together,” Sam told reporters ahead of the third-place play-off match against Sweden.
However, Sam hopes to retain some of the core members returning in 2027.
“I hope to be here. I am only 29. I think most of us will still be here if we have the opportunity,” she said.
“Of course, there will be people who come into the side and take someone’s position and people that might not want to keep playing but at the moment I haven’t heard talks of anyone retiring.”