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Opinion

The Matildas are unlikely to play in sanctioned February international window

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Roar Guru
3rd February, 2022
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The Matildas are unlikely to play in the Algarve Cup from 14-22 February in Portugal according to Football Australia.

They were originally slated to play in the tournament alongside the hosts, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Italy.

The tournament would have been an ideal opportunity for Tony Gustavsson to reinvigorate his team after a poor Asian Cup campaign.

It would have also presented a chance to get much needed minutes into fringe players, while also adjusting the team’s game style, which has come under intense scrutiny recently.

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Australia have participated in the tournament three times before. They finished fifth in 1999, and fourth in 2017 and also 2018.

The next time Australia will likely play will be during the April international window (4 April to 12 April).

Being a Type 1 win down, Australia will be allowed to play up to two games only.

The likelihood is the Matildas will play in Australia, with other nations prepared to send teams down under to acclimatise to conditions ahead of the 2023 World Cup.

Sam Kerr kicks.

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

It is unclear if Gustavsson will pick strong opponents in April given the fragile nature of his job. A heavy loss could spell the end of his tenure.

However, playing a weak team would not be ideal to prepare and harden the team prior to 2023.

February is a Type 2 sanctioned international window, meaning we could have played up to three internationals, which makes it even more baffling Australia won’t play any matches.

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With the World Cup only 18 months away, there is limited opportunity to get minutes into inexperienced players and tweak the game style.

While senior players who ply their trade in Europe probably deserve a rest, February would have been the perfect chance to give Australia-based players some much needed game time.

Players like Courtney Nevin, Kyra Cooney-Cross, Jessika Nash, Cortnee Vine, Bryleeh Henry, Remy Siemsen, Winonah Heatley, Holly McNamara, Jamilla Rankin and Dylan Holmes would undoubtedly have jumped at the chance to play on home soil and prove their worth.

A-League Women clubs would be pleased, though, as they will now be able to keep their players as the season heads towards an exciting finish.

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