“I like that it’s tough. No team has a more tight schedule.”

"I like that it's tough. No team has a more tight schedule."

Technical Director Tony Gustafson believes it is “extremely important” to compete against tough opponents in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics and the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Westfield Matildas returns to international football with two big tests in winning the Olympic gold medals in Germany on April 11th and second place in the 2019 Women’s World Cup, Netherlands on April 14th.

It had been 396 days since the team’s last game and most believed an easy rival is the best way to get back into international competition.

However, Tony Gustafson sees it very differently:

“We need to understand how important it is for this team to have the toughest schedule possible, and that’s one of the first things I said when I was hired,” Gustafson said. matildas.com.au.

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With the Olympic Games resuming in Tokyo in July, there will be little time left for new coach Gustafsson before the team travels to Japan.

With informed medical advice and a pioneering Australian soccer safety framework limiting the selection of key players in Australia – including those in the Westfield W-League – Gustavsson has brought together 23 players with a mix of experience and youth.

The challenge of facing the world’s number two, Germany alongside the number four in the world, the Netherlands offers Gustafsson and assistant coach Mel Andriata the opportunity to assess the qualities of players on and off the field.

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Caitlin Forward against the Netherlands in 2019

“I could have walked the path of thinking, let’s start an easy way as a new coach and play two easy matches until we get positive results and then get some confidence.”

You know what, we can’t waste a minute here, we have to play hard [opponents] If possible

Gustavsson believes in comprehensive set-up schedules and that the key to success is prepared just like everyone else in the world. His former USWNT team and eventual world champion played more than 20 matches in 2018 prior to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, with matches in some of the higher-ranked countries.

The 47-year-old plans to replicate the similar model of success seen in the United States with Westfield Matildas, with an Olympic campaign imminent for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

“While I was with the United States, there was a report that was prepared, even before I got on the plane, we identified ourselves [Australia] You must compete against better opponents

But also a “unique” quality of opponents, with different game modes, and a new challenge in each game.

Fortunately for Gustafsson, the nation he now runs is known to thrive under challenges.


Match details

Deutsland vs Westfield Matildas
Sunday, April 11, 2021
Location: Brita-Arena Wiesbaden, Wiesbaden
Departing: 12:05 PM (AEST)
Broadcast: Live on FOX SPORTS, Kayo, ABC TV and the My Football Live app

Please note that all dates and times mentioned are AEST. The start in Germany starts on Saturday 10 April 2021 at 4:05 PM local time.

Netherlands vs Westfield Matildas
Wednesday 14 April 2021
Location: NEC Stadium, Nijmegen
Departing: 2:30 AM (AEST)
Broadcast: Live on FOX SPORTS, Kayo, ABC TV and the My Football Live app

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Please note that all dates and times mentioned are AEST. Departing in the Netherlands on Tuesday 13th April 2021 at 6.30pm local time

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