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The Matildas face New Zealand in the opening match of the Cup of Nations at Leichhardt Oval. Join The Roar for live scores and commentary from 7:30pm (AEDT).
After a tumultuous three months that threatened to derail the Matildas preparations for the World Cup in France during the northern European summer, the Matildas finally make a return to the pitch against the Kiwis.
This will be an important tournament for new manager Ante Milicic’s team. Getting to know his players and tweaking some of the stylistic features of the squad, will be his main goals in the three matches that the team will play.
Tonight, with Sam Kerr running on as the new captain, the Matlidas face the 19th-ranked Football Ferns. The Kiwis will enter their fifth World Cup in a tough group where the might of the Dutch and Canada will make qualification through to the knock-out phase very difficult.
The Australian’s group is less imposing, yet Italy and Brazil will offer stern tests. This tournament will give both squads a final chance to refine combinations and allow the selectors to finalise the squads that will eventually earn a spot on the plane in June.
With the new man in charge informing the playing group that assurances of selection last no further than these three matches, there will be hot competition for both minutes and positions within the Australian squad.
Even with the appointment of the new manager and the turmoil of recent times, the hard work done by the Matildas over the past five years should see them take a win to open the tournament.
It will be something of a grind at stages, with a determined New Zealand side happy to soak up pressure from the fluent Australians.
However, the class of Caitlin Foord and Sam Kerr up front will be the deciding factor on what looks to be a perfect day for football in Sydney.
Australia 3, New Zealand 1
Where: Leichhardt Oval, Sydney
When: Thursday 28th February 2019, 7:30pm (AEDT)
TV: Fox Sports, ABC Viceland
Betting: Australia $1.45, Draw $3.30, New Zealand $6.00
Teigen Allen, Laura Alleway, Mackenzie Arnold, Tameka Butt, Eliza Campbell, Ellie Carpenter, Steph Catley, Alex Chidiac, Lisa De Vanna, Caitlin Foord, Emily Gielnik, Amy Harrison, Princess Ibini, Elise Kellond-Knight, Alanna Kennedy, Samantha Kerr, Aivi Luik, Teresa Polias, Clare Polkinghorne, Hayley Raso, Gema Simon, Emily Van Egmond, Lydia Williams.
CJ Bott, Katie Bowen, Daisy Cleverly, Katie Duncan, Abbey Erceg, Victoria Esson, Anna Green, Sarah Gregorius, Betsy Hassett, Emma Kete, Anna Leat, Annalie Luongo, Meikayla Moore, Sarah Morton, Erin Nayler, Ria Percival, Aimee Phillips, Ali Riley, Katie Rood, Paige Satchell, Stephanie Skilton, Rebekah Stott, Rosie White.