: 3 APRIL, 2021, 12:41 PM
Matildas head coach Tony Gustavsson has named his first squad for the upcoming internationals against Germany and the Netherlands later this month.
The 23-player squad features a mix of well established stars, together with a host of new faces in the travelling group to assemble in the Netherlands on Monday.
Thirteen players from the squad that helped Australia qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have been included while seasoned defender Laura Brock, fellow defender Emma Checker, midfielders Amy Harrison, Amy Sayer and Ella Mastrantonio have been recalled.
The squad also sees four uncapped players enter the senior national team environment for the first time including former Young Matildas Indiah-Paige Riley, Beattie Goad and Alex Huynh.
In their first matches since March 2020, Australia will face two of world football’s heavyweights in reigning Olympic gold medallists Germany and FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 finalists, the Netherlands on April 10 and 13, respectively.
“With this camp and international matches, the preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games take a signficant step forward and I am eager to see what the players will bring to the environment,” said Gustavsson.
“Knowing the close bond between the playing group, this camp will be good for morale as we assemble for the first time in almost 400 days. The coaching staff and I have been watching them closely but coming together in person will bring a completely different dynamic.
“Even with all the challenges that have been presented, including the decision to exclude selection of Australian-based players, I believe this is a great chance to learn about the qualities of all the players; on and off the pitch.”
Six players from the 2020 AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifiers are not available for selection including midfielder Katrina Gorry who is expecting her first child in August. Defender Steph Catley, midfielder Elise Kellond-Knight and forward Kyah Simon (pictured above) will continue injury rehabilitation in their home environments.
“Between now and the Olympics, every camp and every match is crucial. Our focus for the next couple of months is to set high standards early and ensure we keep focussing on getting one day better in everything we do,” said Gustavsson.
“Germany and the Netherlands are extremely tough teams with incredibly talented players. They provide an opportunity for the coaching staff, Mel Andreatta and I to evaluate the team and closely examine how we want to evolve.”
“We have provided players with all the time possible to be considered for the match window, and we have leaned on our extensive scouting network to capture all available Australian players. The exciting part is that every player has the chance to prove themselves, whether they are an experienced player with almost 100 caps, or a player earning their first call up.”
“On the back of the announcement of the host cities, this is not only about Olympic preparation but it is also the start of our road to the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023.”
Rent for add