The Matildas are gearing up for some major tournaments and matches coming up soon. As Australia's national women's soccer team, the Matildas have been breaking records and attracting huge audiences lately. Their recent performances have put them in contention for more titles and trophies. But who exactly will the Matildas play next?
Get the full rundown on the Matildas' schedule, opponents, and chances in upcoming competitions. We'll cover all their upcoming matches, how they've been doing lately, and what to expect when the Matildas take the pitch. Whether you're a die-hard fan or just want to catch the highlights, read on for the details on who the Matildas will play next!
The Matildas' Upcoming Opponents
The Matildas have two major matches lined up in the near future:
August 19, 2023: Third-place playoff match in the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup. As of writing, the Matildas' opponent for this match is still to be determined based on the tournament's quarter-final and semi-final results. But the Matildas have a strong chance of making it to the third-place playoff, given their performance so far.
October 26, 2023: Friendly match against Iran. This will be good preparation and a chance to try new strategies outside of a high-stakes tournament setting. Friendlies are an opportunity to test young talent as well.
The Matildas also recently participated in Olympic qualifying matches on the road to the 2024 Paris Olympics. However, specific dates for their next Olympics qualifiers have not been announced yet. Based on the typical timeline, these matches will likely take place in 2023 or early 2024.
So mark your calendars for August 19 and October 26, when you can catch the Matildas live in action again! Their opponent for the World Cup playoff will be a top-ranked team, while the Iran friendly will be a good gauge of their continued progress.
How the Matildas Are Faring in the 2023 Women's World Cup
The 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup, hosted by Australia and New Zealand, is currently underway. And the Matildas are exceeding expectations on home soil.
In the group stage, Australia decisively won their first two matches against Ireland and Nigeria. Their third match against Canada ended in a draw, but the Matildas still finished top of Group B.
This set up a huge round of 16 clash with the defending champions, the United States. In a tight match that kept fans on the edge of their seats, the Matildas emerged victorious with a shock 1-0 upset over the US!
Superstar Sam Kerr scored the lone goal in the 65th minute. Goalkeeper Lydia Williams also put in a Player of the Match performance, keeping the vaunted American attack at bay.
The Matildas then faced a strong Sweden team in the quarter-finals. Despite going down 1-0 early, they equalized through striker Mary Fowler. The game ultimately went to penalties after a tense 1-1 draw over 120 minutes.
In the shootout, Teagan Micah saved two penalty kicks to seal a 4-2 win for Australia. The Matildas held their nerve under immense pressure and are now just one match away from the World Cup final.
How the Matildas Have Performed in Recent Major Tournaments
The Matildas have stepped up their game in the last few years and started achieving some incredible results. Let's review their performances in other recent major international tournaments:
2019 Women's World Cup: With 5 goals, Sam Kerr broke the record for most goals scored by an Australian in a single Women's World Cup. Overall, the Matildas won 3 matches, lost 2, and drew 1 to finish in 8th place.
2020 Tokyo Olympics: The Matildas finished first in the 2020 AFC Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament. In the Olympics group stage, they beat New Zealand but lost to Sweden and drew the US. They still progressed to the quarterfinals before being knocked out by Great Britain. Their Olympic matches broke Australian attendance records.
2022 AFC Women's Asian Cup: Drawn into Group B, the Matildas comfortably topped their group after winning all 3 matches against Indonesia, Philippines, and Thailand. They eventually finished 3rd after losing to South Korea in the semi-finals and Chinese Taipei in the 3rd place playoff.
Based on their upward trajectory and some signature wins over quality opponents, the Matildas appear ready to take the next step and challenge for a World Cup title on home soil.
The Matildas' Overall World Cup Record
The 2023 tournament marks Australia's 7th World Cup appearance. The Matildas have qualified for every Women's World Cup since the beginning in 1991.
Here's a quick overview of their journey at each tournament:
- 1995 - Debut appearance, lost all 3 group stage matches
- 1999 - Again lost all 3 group matches
- 2003 - First World Cup point with a draw against Russia, but failed to progress from the group
- 2007 - Quarterfinal appearance for the first time, finished in 6th place
- 2011 - Survived the group but lost to Sweden in the quarterfinals
- 2015 - Upset Brazil to reach the quarterfinals again, where they lost to Japan
- 2019 - Made the round of 16, finishing in 8th place after losses to Norway and Italy
While the Matildas have always been competitive, they've historically struggled to get past the quarterfinal hurdle. 2023 shapes up as their best chance to finally crack through to the semi-finals and potentially lift the trophy.
Striker Lisa De Vanna holds the record for the most World Cup goals scored for Australia with 7. Meanwhile, defender Clare Polkinghorne has the most World Cup appearances for the Matildas with 18 across 5 tournaments.
Record-Setting Viewership for the Matildas in 2023
The Matildas are enjoying a surge in popularity and exposure in 2023. Their World Cup matches on home soil have been smashing Australian viewership records.
Against Ireland in their opening match, the Matildas drew an average live audience of 837,000 viewers on free-to-air TV. This more than doubled the previous record for a Matildas match in Australia.
The trend continued when 1.2 million Aussie viewers tuned in for the nail-biting round of 16 victory over the US. This set a new milestone for the most-watched women's soccer game ever in Australian history.
Part of this boost comes from the first Women's World Cup ever held in Australia and New Zealand. But it also reflects the players' brilliant performances and growing prominence.
Sam Kerr, in particular, has become a household name after winning a string of Golden Boot awards in American leagues and the English Women's Super League. She's joined by other fan favorites like Caitlin Foord, Ellie Carpenter, Mary Fowler, and more. Their skills and charisma on the pitch are capturing the imagination of sports fans across the country.
This groundswell of support has translated into sold-out stadiums and massive TV audiences. The Matildas' group stage clash against Canada attracted 36,109 spectators - a record for a Matildas match held in Australia.
Their quarter-final against Sweden is expected to do even better. A vocal, sea of gold-clad Matildas supporters will cheer them on at the Sydney Football Stadium.
Win or lose, this World Cup has cemented the Matildas as one of Australia's most beloved and followed national teams. They have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity performing in front of home crowds and a nation rallying behind them.
If they keep progressing through the knockout stages, expect their viewership feats to be broken again. For women's soccer and women's sport in general, the Matildas' success is a huge leap forward.
When is the Matildas' Next Match?
To summarize the key dates coming up:
August 19, 2023 - Matildas play in the Third-Place Match of the 2023 Women's World Cup. Their opponent will be determined by the semi-final results.
October 26, 2023 - The Matildas have a friendly match scheduled against Iran's national women's team.
2023 or 2024 - Olympic qualifying matches for the 2024 Paris Olympics. Dates TBA.
With the Women's World Cup in full swing, all eyes are on the Matildas to see if they can lift the trophy on home soil. Their performances so far have shown they have the talent and determination to go all the way.
After the tournament wraps up in August, the Matildas will regroup and focus on securing their spot at the 2024 Olympics. Several veterans may retire, allowing new stars to emerge in the green and gold.
One thing's for sure - whether in a nail-biting knockout round or a lower-stakes friendly, the Matildas will bring their passionate, competitive spirit to every game. Stay tuned to find out who Australia's powerhouse women's team will face off against next!