How player power helped Gustavsson land Matildas job


Matildas midfielder Chloe Logarzo has revealed the influential role she and her teammates played in the persuading FFA to find a coach with the right ‘cultural’ fit for the national team.

And she believes last week’s unveiling on a four-year deal of two-time Women’s World Cup winner Tony Gustavsson got it just right.

The Matildas uprising which forced out unpopular Dutchwoman Histerine de Reus in 2014 showed what can happen when cultures clash.

Gustavsson’s rival for the role, former Italy and Canada coach Carolina Morace, didn’t command the groundswell of player support enjoyed by the Swede.

Logarzo sees Gustavsson - assistant to Jill Ellis in 2015 and 2019 as the USWNT swept to triumph - bringing harmony and a shared focus on delivering on public expectations at the 2023 Women’s World Cup on home soil.

“In terms of previous coaches we’ve had clashes of culture ... it’s been a massive thing for us, said 45-cap Logarzo.

“As Australians, the culture side of things is big for us, and having somebody who comes in who fits in well is important.”

One of nine Matildas playing in England’s FA Women’s Super League, the Bristol City linchpin said FFA was given a wish list of criteria which the players hoped Ante Milicic’s successor would match.

“We look forward to getting to know Tony well and with the tactical and technical knowledge he has I think he’s going to be perfect for us,” Logarzo added.

“Ante was the exact same and we stressed to FFA that that’s what we wanted and they’ve done a great job in finding somebody who fits the mould of everything we needed.

“So hats off to FFA for that. We wanted someone with a profile that was energetic, personable and knowledgeable, and that’s what we’ve got.”

Gustavsson - also assistant to compatriot Pia Sundhage when the USA won Olympic gold in 2012 - held a brief phone hook-up with his new charges shortly after his appointment.

And Logarzo, 25, said his effervescence is contagious.

“With Tony, we asked around and we only heard good things,” she added. “None of us have personally worked or interacted with him.

“We had a quick 10-minute chat with him after he was appointed - and the acknowledgment he has for the Matildas was exciting.

(His arrival) is a breath of fresh air and a sigh of relief.

“We think he’ll take us to the next level.”

Speaking after Bristol City’s 3-1 loss to Arsenal Women overnight where she came up against Matildas teammate Caitlin Foord, Logarzo said having the same coach in play now for four major tournaments would provide vital continuity.

“There have been three so far during my time with the national team and having one coach over an extended period will give us the consistency we can build off,” she said.

“Winning in his blood and he’s going to pass that on.”

Logarzo, who made her debut in 2013, believes having every single Matilda now based in Europe, whether in England, Spain, France or Norway plays into that narrative.

“I just feel like with the Matidas everything is beginning to fall into place heading towards the 2023 World Cup,” he said.

“We don’t want to get complacent but I feel like it’s coming up to our time, where we’re maturing, playing overseas and ticking all the boxes.”