Opinion

What we can expect from Matildas' World Cup opponents

0:00

The Matildas have been seeded for the FIFA Women's World Cup for the first time in history, placing them in different groups automatically to the other top six nations.

Australia notoriously always end up in the group of death.

However, with the Matildas having been recognised as one of the toughest opponents at the World Cup, Germany, USA, France, England and Canada can all breathe a sigh of relief as they no longer have to deal with Australia in their group. 

The Matildas being drawn in Group C from the outset was quickly accompanied by Brazil. 'Not again!' was my first reaction, to be honest.

Australia seem to be unable to get away from the South Americans.

Not that we fear them at all, but who could forget our dramatic win in 2015 to make it through to the quarter-finals but then also the heartbreak after losing on penalties at Rio 2016.

Our histories have intertwined more often than most, and we will meet once again in France 2019 with Brazil currently standing 10th internationally.  

Drawn next is Italy. Standing at 16th, the Italians - who haven't seen World Cup action since 1999 - are our next opponent outside the top 10.

France 2019 sees them having steadily risen through the ranks in Europe, mostly due to improved resources, with the Italian federation finally allocating a women’s program after neglecting them for decades.

Most notably the fact that Juventus have only in 2018 sought a women’s team to represent them in the Serie A.

Italy are an experienced team with a lot to prove which will no doubt cause some headaches for Alen Stajcic and his coaching team to try and overcome.

I can foresee a very defensive ‘catenaccio’ style game plan from ‘Gli Azzurri’, forcing the Matildas to really unlock them defensively. 

Whilst they won’t be able to contest with our speed, they might do enough to frustrate us and it will take patience to break them down.  

Our final opponent in Group C is Jamaica

The minnow country ranked 53rd internationally but will not be taken lightly.

The unpredictability of the Caribbean teams is what sets them apart from a majority of other nations at the World Cup.

Looking across the groups it’s fair to say you cannot really see a group of death.

The groups seem balanced and I feel the Matildas rising to sixth in the world rankings has something to do with that.

Whilst you need to beat the best to win a World Cup, I sense an air of confidence among the top 10 nations of progressing through the group stages.

Whilst this confidence may be there, it can prove dangerous as many teams can become complacent.

Our Matildas will always represent us with strength and determination but no longer are we the underdogs.

We are now the hunted. We are feared and it’s new territory.

I can see big things for this group in France 2019. I hope you do too.