Australia is fervently supporting the Matildas’ quest to progress in the Women’s World Cup

Australia, as co-host of the tournament alongside New Zealand, saw the Matildas participating, but the Football Ferns were unable to progress beyond the group stage

(Football News) Australia is determined to break free from the host team curse by securing their place beyond the quarterfinals in the Women’s World Cup.

As co-hosts of the tournament alongside New Zealand, the Matildas have shared the stage, while the Football Ferns were unable to progress beyond the group stage. Australia is currently in action, preparing to face France in Brisbane, Australia, on Saturday with a semifinal spot at stake.

Historically, tournament hosts have grappled with advancing past the quarterfinals. This trend started with China in the inaugural 1991 tournament, followed by Sweden in 1995, Germany in 2011, Canada in 2015, and most recently France in 2019. France’s elimination by the United States in front of a crowd of 45,000 in Paris left a lingering impact.

Except for the United States, who clinched victory in the 1999 tournament on home soil, all other World Cup hosts have fallen short of progressing beyond the quarterfinals. Now, France has the opportunity to eliminate Australia from their own tournament. French coach Herve Renard acknowledged his players’ familiarity with the pressure faced by the Matildas.

“We are fully aware of what awaits us,” Renard stated. “Being the host country can be both positive and negative. The French team experienced this in 2019, and we understand the potential for immense disappointment, as France experienced when they were knocked out.”

Renard added, “We hope to subject Australia to the same ordeal that France endured as hosts in 2019.” Australia may benefit from having superstar Sam Kerr at her peak performance level, as she missed the entirety of the group stage due to a calf injury and only participated in the final 10 minutes of Australia’s quarterfinal victory over Denmark.

The Matildas have also been competing in front of massive crowds, including an audience of over 75,000 in Sydney during their triumph over Denmark. Defender Alanna Kennedy expressed, “Sydney truly elevated the atmosphere. We felt the crowd’s energy.” Mary Fowler, a 20-year-old defender, chimed in, “It’s an incredible feeling, especially after the matches, when you can truly grasp the magnitude of the crowds that came to support us.”

Australia has never progressed beyond the quarterfinals in its three previous attempts at the World Cup, making a potential semifinal debut a significant achievement. In a pre-tournament warm-up match, Australia defeated France 1-0 just last month, marking the only loss suffered by Les Bleus among their 18 matches this year.

France is aiming to break the cycle of quarterfinal eliminations, having been ousted in the same stage in the past two consecutive World Cups. In 2015, Germany was responsible for their exit, followed by a defeat to the United States four years ago. A victory over Australia would propel France into the semifinals for only the second time in their history, with the previous instance dating back to 2011.

While France’s World Cup opener, a goalless draw against Jamaica, left something to be desired, the fifth-ranked team in the world rebounded impressively. They sailed into the quarterfinals by contributing to Brazil’s elimination and outscoring their opponents 12-4 over the last three matches.


Colombia is a notable overachiever in the Women’s World Cup, currently holding the 25th rank globally and being the lowest-ranked team still in contention. However, the Superpoderosas’ success is no mere coincidence; they defeated two-time champion Germany during the group stage and triumphed over Jamaica in the knockout phase, securing a spot in the quarterfinals for the first time in their team’s history.

A mere four years ago, Colombia’s team failed to qualify for the World Cup, and they also missed out on the tournament in 1999, 2003, and 2007.

To advance to the semifinals—a feat that places them as the sole remaining South American team—Colombia must overcome European champion England at Stadium Australia in Sydney. This matchup presents the Colombians with their most significant international stage thus far, a moment of pride for a nation captivated by their achievements.

Colombia’s spirited performances have not gone unnoticed, as Colombia men’s star Luis Díaz expressed his support on social media following the women’s knockout round victory: “These warriors have us dreaming. Come on Colombia, we are with you.”

Guided by the remarkable 18-year-old talent Linda Caicedo—a radiant rising star for Real Madrid who triumphed over ovarian cancer at 15—the Colombians have demonstrated resilience. Despite encountering health concerns, including exhaustion treated on multiple occasions during the tournament, Caicedo displayed unwavering commitment, featuring prominently in the team’s last two matches.

Ana Maria Guzman, another 18-year-old member of the Colombian squad, expressed the significance of Caicedo’s journey: “Linda is not only my inspiration but also a symbol for every Colombian player. She has shown that dreams are attainable through hard work.”

England, on the other hand, presents a formidable opponent, despite their lack of consistency in the tournament. Although they emerged victorious in all three of their group-stage games, the team’s performance has been characterized by fluctuations. Their campaign saw an unconvincing opening-game win against Haiti, the loss of star player Keira Walsh against Denmark, experimentation with an entirely new formation against China, and the absence of superstar Lauren James due to a two-game suspension.

During England’s knockout round victory over Nigeria, James received a red card due to a forceful tackle on an opponent, followed by an inadvertent stepping motion. As a consequence, James was ejected from the match, which England ultimately won through penalty kicks, and subsequently faced a two-match suspension.

James, who has contributed three goals to England’s tally in the tournament, expressed remorse for her actions. “She is clearly disheartened by the incident,” remarked England forward Beth England. “It was an impulsive, emotionally charged moment. We have rallied around her, and it’s commendable that she has taken responsibility and issued an apology.” Veteran England player Lucy Bronze highlighted the team’s resilience amid the various challenges encountered in the tournament, emphasizing their consistent ability to rise to the occasion.

“We’ve confronted and navigated through every obstacle that has come our way,” she commented. “I don’t perceive numerous other teams that have encountered similar challenges, and even if they did, I doubt they’ve triumphed over adversity in the same manner we have. Yet, we acknowledge that our performances haven’t met our expectations.”

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