It is game day and the Matildas will be looking to make World Cup history in their quarter final against France in Brisbane.
The Aussie women have never progressed past the quarter final stage at a World Cup, however home soil advantage gives them their strongest chance yet to reach the semis and even the final.
With every match the Matildas win, they have collected new fans along the way including some that are totally new to the sport of football (or soccer, if you must).
So Daily Mail Australia has put together this guide to help you understand the world game and what will unfold when the Matildas take on France in their World Cup quarter final at Brisbane Stadium on Saturday.
What time is kick-off?
The whistle will sound at 5pm AEST time, which is 4.30pm in South Australia and the Northern Territory and 3pm in Western Australia.
Will Sam Kerr be fit to play?
Matildas captain Sam Kerr missed all of the group stage matches with a calf injury but returned off the bench against Denmark
Kerr re-joined teammates in training for the first time all tournament in a very welcome sign she is set to play a big role against France
This is the million dollar question for football enthusiasts and newcomers alike. After missing the group stage matches with a calf injury the Aussie skipper returned against Denmark, albeit on extremely limited minutes off the bench.
Calf injuries can be problematic, which is a worry for Kerr, the Matildas and Aussie fans alike.
The duration for a professional athlete to recover from a calf injury can widely differ based on factors like the injury’s severity, treatment, and individual circumstances. Mild calf strains might necessitate a few weeks of recuperation, whereas more serious tears could extend the recovery to several weeks or even months.
You can be sure the Matildas will continue to play ducks and drakes with France until kick-off, so we won’t really know just how fit Kerr is until she takes the pitch – if she takes the pitch.
Howeve in a major boost to the confidence of Australian fans, Kerr actually trained with her teammates on Friday including running drills.
Previously she had been confined to the exercise bike and walking laps of the training oval.
There is no definite answer yet, but it is a safe bet you can expect Kerr to play against France – it just might be off the bench again.
Are France any good?
France’s Wendie Renard, right, celebrates with teammates after scoring her team’s second goal during their clash against Brazil
France superstar Kadidiatou Diani is another threat the Matildas will need to be on high alert for
Simply put, oui (yes). France are the No 5 ranked team in the world and for good reason.
The success of the French women’s soccer team can be attributed to a combination of factors that contribute to their strong performance on the international stage.
France has invested significantly in the development of women’s football infrastructure, including youth academies, coaching programs, and leagues. This has helped in nurturing and grooming talented players from a young age.
The country has a large pool of talented female players to choose from. This talent pool has expanded over the years due to increased interest and participation in women’s football at the grassroots level.
The presence of competitive women’s soccer leagues within the country, such as Division 1 Féminine, allows players to consistently test their skills against strong domestic opponents which benefits the national team as well.
And they boast a number of the world’s best players including Wendie Renard, Kadidiatou Diani, Vicki Bècho and Eugénie Le Sommer.
The Matildas have a slender winning advantage over France in terms of all matches played. Plus Australia won 1-0 in a friendly match in the lead-up to the World Cup, however that might have proven advantageous for the French,
‘The advantage of having played against them already is that we know exactly what to expect. We are ready and there will be no surprises. They play with intensity and we will have to impose our game,’ France forward Eugenie Le Sommer said.
How long does a game go for?
There are two segments, each spanning 45 minutes. However extra minutes might be included in each segment to compensate for any lost time. This is referred to as ‘additional time’ or ‘added time,’ distinct from the term ‘extra time.’
What do those yellow and red cards mean?
Spain’s Irene Paredes was not very happy to receive a yellow card. In this case, the card was revoked upon review but players can also have the card upgraded to red if they are not careful
The dreaded red card means a player is not only sent off for the remainder of the match with no replacement available, it also means they are automatically suspended for the next match
Yellow and red cards are vital tools used in soccer (football) to enforce player conduct and uphold fairness. These cards are issued by referees and carry significant consequences for both players and teams.
A yellow card signifies a caution and is given for actions such as persistent fouling, unsporting behavior, dissent, or deliberate handball.
Accumulating two yellow cards in a single match results in a red card, leading to the player’s expulsion and reducing their team to 10 players.
On the other hand, a red card is a more severe measure that indicates a player’s immediate ejection from the game. It is usually shown for offenses like serious foul play, denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity, using offensive language, receiving a second yellow card, or engaging in physical aggression.
The team with a player receiving a red card is left with a numerical disadvantage.
These cards have distinct implications:
A yellow card is a warning and can result in future match suspensions based on accumulating cards.
A red card leads to immediate departure from the game and often carries a suspension for subsequent matches, determined by the nature of the offense.
What is a penalty during regular time?
Aussie goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold will be our last line of defence if a penalty is awarded againt the Matildas
Australia’s players celebrate after Steph Catley scored a penalty goal against Republic of Ireland in the group stage of the tournament
A penalty kick, also known as a spot kick, is a direct free kick taken from the penalty spot located within the penalty area (also called the 18-yard box).
It is awarded to the attacking team when a defending player commits a foul inside their own penalty area, and the foul is deemed to have denied an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.
Here’s how a penalty is awarded and taken:
Awarding a Penalty:
A penalty is usually awarded for the following situations:
A defender trips, pushes, or fouls an attacking player inside the penalty area, preventing them from taking a clear shot on goal.
A defender handles the ball deliberately inside the penalty area, except for instances where the ball was deflected off the defender’s body onto their hand or arm.
Taking the Penalty:
Once a penalty is awarded, the following steps are taken:
The ball is placed on the penalty spot, which is 11 metres (approximately 12 yards) away from the goal line.
The goalkeeper stands on the goal line, and all other players are required to be outside the penalty area and the penalty arc until the kick is taken.
The player taking the penalty, usually a designated striker or attacker, stands behind the ball.
At the referee’s signal, the player taking the penalty kicks the ball towards the goal.
The goalkeeper is allowed to move laterally along the goal line before the kick is taken, but they cannot move forward off the goal line until the ball is struck. The goalkeeper’s objective is to anticipate the direction of the shot and make a save.
If the ball enters the goal and a legal goal is scored, the attacking team is awarded a goal.
If the ball does not enter the goal, play continues from the point where the penalty was taken, and the defending team gains possession.
Retake or Infringements:
In some cases, penalties might need to be retaken due to goalkeeper movement or encroachment by players before the kick is taken. If both teams commit infringements, the penalty may also need to be retaken.
Penalties are considered prime goal-scoring opportunities due to the one-on-one situation between the kicker and the goalkeeper. They can have a significant impact on the outcome of a match, especially during regular time, as they often result in a goal or a close call that can swing the momentum of the game.
What is the offside rule?
The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) is kind of like the video referee or bunker in AFL or NRL and can determine if a player is offside which can result in goals being overturned
The offside rule in soccer dictates that a player is offside if they are closer to the opponent’s goal line than both the ball and the second-to-last defender when the ball is played to them.
Offside is penalised when the player gains an advantage or interferes with opponents from this position. Exceptions include being in one’s own half or during throw-ins, corner kicks, and goal kicks.
The assistant referee raises a flag when an offside offense occurs, leading to an indirect free kick for the opposing team.
What if there is no result at the end of regular time?
Aussie fans are pumped to watch the Matildas in their quarter final match against France and welcome all newcomers
If there is no result at the end of regular time in a soccer match, the game proceeds to an additional period known as extra time.
Extra time consists of two halves, each usually lasting 15 minutes. If the score remains tied after both halves of extra time, the match moves to a penalty shootout to determine the winner.
During the penalty shootout, each team takes a series of penalty kicks from the penalty spot, and the team that scores the most goals after an equal number of kicks is declared the winner.
The penalty shootout continues until one team has an insurmountable lead, usually after five penalty kicks each, or until a winner is determined.
This process is used to determine the victor in knockout stages of tournaments or decisive matches when a winner must be determined.