- Matildas will play three qualifying matches starting this week
- Had the perfect tune-up in WSL action
- Top players admit they are keeping an eye on the Paris Olympics
Matildas Sam Kerr, Steph Catley and Caitlin Foord all won in the final round of the English Women’s Super League, while Mackenzie Arnold’s West Ham earned a final point against Liverpool.
Meanwhile, Mary Fowler and Matildas teammate Alanna Kennedy played in Manchester City’s 1-0 win over Leicester City in England on Sunday.
Now they’ve all made a mad dash to the airport to return to Australia and played three crucial World Cup qualifiers as Matildas players.
In a busy schedule for the international stars, the Matildas face Iran on Thursday, the Philippines on Sunday and against Chinese Tapei on November 1.
And they had an ideal alignment in the WSL with a series of strong results for the Matildas stars.
Kerr provided two assists for Chelsea in WSL action this weekend and will look to play a key role in the Matildas qualifiers this week
Caitlin Foord was another Matilda who recorded a WSL win before returning to Australia for the World Cup qualifiers
Kerr provided two assists as her Chelsea side came from behind to beat Brighton 4-2 to move top of the table alongside Manchester City.
New signing Sjoeke Nüsken scored twice for Chelsea, the German midfielder’s first goals since her summer transfer from Eintracht Frankfurt.
Brighton defender Guro Bergsvand scored an own goal in the 74th minute – meeting Kerr’s cross – and Chelsea’s Aggie Beever-Jones came off the bench to put the game out of reach before Elisabeth Terland’s second-half injury time comforted visitors.
Catley and Foord both played the full 90 minutes as Arsenal won 2-1 at Bristol City thanks to two goals from Irish star Katie McCabe.
Arsenal have seven points from four games, leaving them three points behind top two Manchester City and Chelsea.
In East London, West Ham’s equalizer in the fifth minute of extra time stole a late point on home field against Liverpool.
Marie Hobinger opened the scoring for the visitors in the 52nd minute and goalkeeper Arnold kept her side in it with a great save from a powerful half-volley from Fuka Nagano shortly afterwards.
The Matildas number 1 was grateful to the woodwork, who twice came to her rescue before West Ham’s Japan international Riko Ueki bundled the ball home at the death to grab a late share of the spoils.
Mackenzie Arnold said the Matildas are eyeing the Paris Olympics where they hope to claim a maiden medal
Women’s World Cup star Hayley Raso also wants the Matildas to perform better in Paris
The Matildas’ stars have just a short window to ensure they get to the World Cup, with the qualifying round in Perth followed by a second home-and-away series in February.
Then the Olympic Games in Paris.
“Hopefully a gold medal at the Olympics,” Arnold told News Corp of what the players hoped to achieve next.
“I think we’ve fallen short so many times that we’ve just gotten over it. It’s time to win something.
‘What we did at the World Cup put so much confidence in us. We want to win a medal, we want it to be gold, but we are done losing at the last hurdle. I think there is a lot of success ahead of us.”
Real Madrid star Hayley Raso agreed.
“If you go to the last Olympics and come fourth, compete in the World Cup and finish fourth, there are three medals and you finish fourth. “I really don’t think there’s anything worse than finishing fourth,” she said.
“So the desire of our team, of all of us as individuals, to win something with Australia is huge.”