Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson has called for perspective after a bumper 2023 ended on the sour note of a lethargic 1-0 away loss to…
Australia batter David Warner has taken a cheeky dig at England ahead of Wednesday’s World Cup semi-final against the Matildas at Stadium Australia.
The Lionesses face Australia for the right to meet Spain, who beat Sweden 2-1 in Auckland on Tuesday, for a berth in Sunday’s final.
The Australian cricket team was unhappy when the ball was changed mid-innings during England’s victory in the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval last month.
It is something Warner clearly has not forgotten as he wished Australia good luck ahead of the last-four clash.
He wrote on Twitter: “An early good luck to the Matildas. Just keep an eye out in case the Poms ask to change the ball.”
His fellow opening partner Usman Khawaja also chipped in, tweeting: “They going to go with the 2010 ‘Jubulani’ ball” – a ball that moved prodigiously in the air at the World Cup in South Africa.
Warner’s sledge is already working: prominent English journo Jonathan Liew took the bait, retweeting him with a meme that read “Get in there and make it about you”.
Sarina Wiegman has only lost one game at a Women’s World Cup.
The Lionesses boss also has just one defeat since taking charge of England.
Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson was involved in both of them.
Gustavsson was Jill Ellis’ assistant when the United States beat the Wiegman-led Netherlands in the 2019 Women’s World Cup final.
As Matildas coach, he earned a 2-0 friendly win over England that snapped the European champions’ 30-game winning streak
“First of all, I have to say Sarina – what a work she’s done with every team she’s worked with,” Gustavsson said.
“And it’s no coincidence that she has lifted the best coach in the world three times or so.
“Very impressive coach – her stats talk for (themselves) in terms of tournament football.
“She lost only one game and it’s that game that I was lucky enough to sit on the other bench.
“These players as well in terms of the England players, some of these players played against us in GB (with Hege Riise as coach) when we played them in the Olympics, and we were fortunate enough to win that one as well, and the friendly.
“So that’s good, but this game lives in its own life and she’s going to be very prepared with her team like she always is.
“They’re gonna have a very, very clear plan on how to hurt us and we need to be ready for everything that’s thrown at us.”
Gustavsson and Wiegman have taken contrasting journeys to reach this point.
Wiegman has been extraordinarily successful since taking over as England boss, winning the Euros and the nation’s love.
Gustavsson, who has worked under Ellis and Pia Sundhage in the past, has been on a rollercoaster ride with the Matildas, both in his tenure and at this World Cup, but his team is hitting its straps at the right time.
“Of course he’s done really well,” Wiegman said.
“It’s not easy.
“Of course, he takes his experience too and how the team grew in the tournament and all the preparations he did with the team before this tournament, I think that helped the team a lot.
“So it’s very clear what they want, how they want to play, and they’re in a good place, just like us.”