Mackenzie Arnold turned in the biggest performance of her life in Matildas’ World Cup quarterfinal win over France, but insisted afterward that she prepared “less than she thinks” for the thrilling duel.
The goalkeeper was the best on the field during one of the biggest nights in Australian sport, making three saves to help the Matildas beat France 7-6 on penalties to reach the Women’s World Cup semi-final against England.
For Arnold, who only became first-choice goalkeeper in February, it capped his incredible rise from third-choice goalkeeper at the Tokyo Olympics to Matilda hero.
After the match, he revealed that although the investigation is focused on the penalty shootout, he prefers to go with his gut.
Asked how much preparation he did for the Frenchman, Arnold replied: “Not a lot, to be honest with you.” Probably less than you think.
MacKenzie Arnold said there was “not much” preparation in Saturday’s dramatic penalty shootout, the longest in World Cup history.
Arnold revealed that he does do some research, but mostly relies on instinct when it comes to avoiding penalties.
“I think I have an instinct, and I tend to trust my instincts.
‘We have a bit of research, obviously, that takes place behind the scenes, and also communication with the coaches. I guess I tend to stay a bit cool, but I wouldn’t say I read it too well, it’s just my gut feeling.
Arnold also revealed that he had not been feeling well during the round of 16 win over Denmark and on Saturday night, but would ‘never’ miss either game.
“I will remember this night for the rest of my life,” he said.
‘I definitely haven’t processed it.
‘That’s the craziest game I’ve ever played, considering what was at stake.
“It will take a long time to really realize what happened, what I did and what the team did.” I’m super proud to be an Australian right now.
I haven’t been very well in the last two weeks. So I’m still getting over it, hence the eyes: this is not tears, not tears though.
Arnold revealed that he has felt bad about the last two Matildas matches.
The Australian goalkeeper described the dramatic match as the craziest she has ever played in.
You just have to do your job. I was always going to play.
Arnold made several crucial saves during regulation time and extra time to ensure Australia reached a penalty shootout.
But then she really made her mark, denying Selma Bacha, Eve Perriset, and Kenza Dali.
Arnold then had a chance for victory when she was tasked with taking the fifth penalty kick herself, but “cut it off” on the post.
“Clearly I wasn’t thinking much,” he joked.
EVERYTHING IS STARTING!
“The girls are singing my praises, but I’m so proud of each and every one of them, especially after I also missed the penalty and saw them all around me how they did it to keep me in the game.”
The roller coaster just kept coming. At 6-6, Arnold denied Dali and thought he had just made the biggest save of his career, but VAR showed Arnold had stepped out of his line, which has been further clamped down under recent rule changes.
It meant Dali had another chance to score, but Arnold denied it again.
Three penalties later, Australia was through.
“To be honest, it was a bit of a mind game, whether she was going to go the same way or change it, but I leaned in and luckily got the save again,” Arnold said.
“I switched between my technique and the new technique and it seems to work.”