Matildas captain Sam Kerr will lead her team in a blockbuster showdown with football powerhouse Germany next month as the national team gears up for the Tokyo Olympics.
The match, to be played at Brita-Arena Wiesbaden in Germany will be the first for the Matildas since Olympic qualifying last year, and could be the first of two international they play in April.
But only internationally based players will be able to play based on established COVID-19 protocols, informed medical advice and Football Australia’s safety-first framework.
Germany, the second ranked team in the world, are the defending Olympic champions and the clash will be the first in charge for new coach Tony Gustavsson.
Gustavsson said taking on “quality opponents” was crucial for his side preparing not only for the Olympics but also the next World Cup, which will be held in Australia and New Zealand in 2023.
“Firstly, I am delighted to finally have the opportunity to bring the players and staff together and for us to start our journey as a team,” Gustavsson said.
“I am pleased to secure a match against a nation of the calibre of Germany for our first outing, as we continue critical preparations ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.”
“It is important for our development as a team that we take on quality opponents often to measure our progress and build strong foundations for the next three years. Consistent matches against highly ranked teams are key to our ability to reach our full potential, and I am looking forward to this first challenge.
“I would like to express my gratitude to Football Australia’s management for their enthusiasm and willingness to engage and invest in elite opposition for the team.
“Although it has been a significant period since the team was last together, we have continued our preparations in innovative ways and now I am eager to get the group assembled and to work together towards Tokyo.”
The clash against Germany will be the first time the two nations have met since an exhilarating 2-2 draw at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Kerr has been in sparkling form for Chelsea recently, becoming the first woman in the Women’s League Cup final as her team romped to a 6-0 hammering of Bristol City.
Football Australia Chief Executive Officer, James Johnson, said he hoped to secure mora matches for the Matildas against the world’s best teams.
“Securing more matches against the world’s best teams is essential for the progress of the team and an area which, following our Performance Gap study, we have worked diligently to address,” he said.
“It emphasises our sharpened focus on the women’s game outlined in the XI Principles for the future of Australian football, as we strive to become the centre of women’s football in the Asia-Pacific region and to enhance further the reputation of the Westfield Matildas.”
Following these established protocols, informed medical advice and Football Australia’s safety-first framework, Australian based players will not be eligible for squad selection for the April FIFA Window.
Football Australia is continuing the effort to secure a second match in Europe during the window.