Australia will be hoping to get off to a positive start at the 2023 Women’s World Cup as co-hosts, and they’ve arguably been given the kindest match of their Group B campaign with an opener against the Republic of Ireland. With matches against Canada and Nigeria to follow in the group stage, the Matildas will be hoping to pick up all three points in this match.
Starting well at a Women’s World Cup has been an issue for Australia in recent tournaments – they have lost the opening game in each of the last three WWCs, losing to Brazil in 2011, USA in 2015 and Italy in 2019. The only occasion that they have won their opening match of a Women’s World Cup tournament in seven attempts was back in 2007, defeating Ghana 4-1.
The game changer for Ireland in many of their qualifiers was when Drogheda woman Megan Campbell launched her howitzer of a throw in towards an opponents six yard box.
It’s a basic attacking move but for some reason it frightened most defenders and now that Campbell has missed out on the tournament through injury it lessens our creativity.
Ireland certainly won’t be pushovers, though. As one of eight nations making their Women’s World Cup debut in this tournament, they come into the 2023 edition having conceded just four goals in their nine qualifiers and never more than once in a single game. That tight defence will need to stay on the ball in this game, with one of the best strikers in the women’s game lining up for Australia in Sam Kerr.
Kerr not only made our list of players to watch at the 2023 World Cup, but she also featured in our five potential winners of the Golden Boot award at the tournament. She’s scored five goals in her last four appearances at the Women’s World Cup, including a four-goal haul in a win over Jamaica in 2019.
This will be just the second encounter between the teams with the Girls In Green running out 3-2 winners in a September 2021 friendly match.
In what was Sam Kerr’s 100th appearance for Australia, the Matildas were missing a host of first-choice players. Mary Fowler scored a brace, but Australia struggled to cope with the Irish counter-attack and goals from Denise O’Sullivan and Louise Quinn after a third-minute own goal from goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold saw the Republic run out as winners.
Hopefully we get the same outcome today, (k.o 11 am), but a home venue and the prolific Kerr suggest otherwise.
If Vera Pauw’s side overcome the odds they can sing what they want to afterwards.
Australia: Lydia Williams, Courtney Nevin, Aivi Luik, Clare Polkinghorne, Cortnee Vine, Clare Wheeler, Steph Catley, Alex Chidiac, Caitlin Foord, Emily van Egmond, Mary Fowler, Teagan Micah, Tameka Yallop, Alanna Kennedy, Clare Hunt, Hayley Raso, Kyah Simon, Mackenzie Arnold, Katrina Gorry, Sam Kerr, Ellie Carpenter, Charlotte Grant, Kyra Cooney-Cross.
Republic of Ireland: Courtney Brosnan, Claire O’Riordan, Chloe Mustaki, Louise Quinn, Niamh Fahey, Megan Connolly, Diane Caldwell, Ruesha Littlejohn, Amber Barrett, Denise O’Sullivan, Katie McCabe, Lily Agg, Áine O’Gorman, Heather Payne, Lucy Quinn, Grace Moloney, Sinead Farrelly, Kyra Carusa, Abbie Larkin, Marissa Sheva, Ciara Grant, Isibeal Atkinson, Megan Walsh.