England have embraced their villain status here, yet in this semi-final they face not just a team but an entire nation
The first time Emily van Egmond played football for Australia, nobody bothered counting the number of people watching. It was a friendly against North Korea at Ballymore in 2010, and although the national team midfielder reckons there were “maybe a couple of thousand” people in attendance, nobody knows for sure because, after all, who really cared? These were fringe players in a fringe team in a fringe sport. Stores were not selling out of replica Matildas jerseys because there were no replica Matildas jerseys. Australia won 3-2 and a national holiday was not declared.
Indeed it was relatively recently that many of the women now preparing to face England in the biggest football game seen on Australian soil were working second jobs to supplement their tiny retainer contracts. Caitlin Foord drove an Uber around Wollongong. Katrina Gorry helped out at a school. Alanna Kennedy worked in Pizza Hut. The idea of playing in front of millions had not yet occurred to them, let alone being blazoned on billboards and buses across the country.
Written by Jonathan Liew in Sydney
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/football/2023/aug/15/matildas-australia-england-womens-world-cup-football under the title “Matildas on a quest for lasting legacy beyond winning a home World Cup | Jonathan Liew”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.