Co-hosts Australia start their journey in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup against Ireland in front of a record-breaking crowd at Stadium Australia.
AUS-W vs IRE-W Match Details
Date: Thursday, 20 July 2023
Time: 15:30 (IST) / 20:00 (ACT)
Venue: Stadium Australia, Sydney
AUS-W vs IRE-W Match Preview
The craze to watch the Matildas playing the Women’s World Cup on their own soil was building since Australia got the hosting rights alongside New Zealand. Due to record ticket sales and the buzz building around the opening game, the venue was shifted to Stadium Australia which now expects an audience of more than 80,000. All of these add to the pressure on the team looking to add the Women’s World Cup title as the second-ever host team to win it after the USA. If they achieve success in the pinnacle competition, it will be the crowning jewel for coach Tony Gustavsson who has got the team to the next level. Australia have been an established side in the tournament reaching the knockouts in each of the four finals. There is little doubt they can make it again with the home fans in support amid a tricky group comprising of Olympic gold medalists Canada, African powerhouse Nigeria and debutants Ireland whom they will begin with. Many have touted Group B as the ‘group of death’ but it seems Canada will be Matildas’ sole rival for the top spot. The challenge will be similar to those faced in 2019 when they were paired with Italy, Brazil and Jamaica. Australia are in excellent form heading into the tournament winning nine of the 10 matches prior including a victory to crush the unbeaten run of Euro winners England. That should help them grab their first win in the tournament opener after losing their last three.
While Australia did not have to go through the turmoil of qualifiers being the hosts, Ireland had to for making their first Women’s World Cup appearance. Vera Pauw’s side beat Scotland in the playoffs after finishing second to Sweden who earned the automatic qualification spot. Now among the new eight faces debuting at the tournament after it was increased to 32 nations, Ireland are wishing for more than just having an experience of their first major tournament of any kind. The group does not automatically guarantee them knockout qualification but they have everything to fight for. In the preparatory friendlies, they showed their vigour by restricting the USA to only 1-0 and 2-0 wins also created scoring chances. Although the 3-0 loss to France and the last match against Colombia was abandoned due to being overly physical, the confidence and spirit have not dampened. In captain Katie McCabe they have an inspiring figure and fighter providing that attitude to the rest of the squad. The only issue could be scoring goals, none in four of the last five, as they defend robustly against Australia in the curtain-raiser. However, they will take inspiration from the 3-2 victory over Matildas in the last meeting with them in 2021 to get a beneficiary result on Thursday.
AUS-W vs IRE-W Team News
Midfielder Tameka Yallop cast doubt over her availability for Australia’s opener in the Women’s World Cup having picked up an injury in the warm-up match against France. She was involved in individual training in the final session before moving to Sydney with the group. Tottenham striker Kyah Simon pulled out of the group training citing an injury and is a doubt too. There were fitness concerns for Alanna Kennedy ahead of the tournament but she will be lining up with Clare Polkinghorne in the backline with little to worry now. Mary Fowler scored her 10th international goal in the 1-0 win over France coming on as a substitute. That will give her belief and confidence after a torrid club season and one which could place her in the starting eleven. She will be part of the revolving front three with Caitlin Foord and Sam Kerr to cause Ireland’s defence all kinds of problems.
The huge injury boost for the Girls in the Green is Denise O'Sullivan is passed fit and in contention to start the group opener. The midfielder was taken to the hospital for a supposed shin injury in the last friendly against Colombia which led the game to be called off after 20 minutes. Vera Pauw’s style which the manager defines as a low block for winning will be set up in a 5-4-1 formation. Their aim will be stop to Sam Kerr and also the technicality of the opposition attack in general. McCabe is expected to be at left-back but will join forces in attack at every given chance.
AUS-W vs IRE-W Predicted Lineups
AUS-W: Mackenzie Arnold; Ellie Carpenter, Clare Polkinghorne, Alanna Kennedy, Steph Catley; Hayley Raso, Katrina Gorry, Cooney-Cross, Caitlin Foord; Mary Fowler; Sam Kerr
IRE-W: Courtney Brosnan; Heather Payne, Niamh Fahey, Louise Quinn, Megan Connolly, Katie McCabe; Sinead Farrelly, O'Sullivan, Ruesha Littlejohn, Marissa Sheva; Kyra Carusa
Check out here more details:
AUS-W vs IRE-W Dream11 Team Prediction
GK: Brosnan (7.5)
DEF: Polkinghorne (9), Quinn (9), Catley (8.5)
MID: Sullivan (9), Gorry (8), Littlejohn (8), McCabe (9)
FW: Fowler (7.5), Kerr (9), Foord (8.5)
Vice-captain: Caitlin Foord
Captain: Sam Kerr
AUS-W vs IRE-W Prediction
AUS-W 2-0 IRE-W
Australia will have immense support for the opening game as well as throughout the tournament which they want as a catalyst for success. Ireland will be forced to play in that atmosphere and could struggle even with their solidity when they are unable to find the back of the net. Victory in the first game will set the tone for Matildas while the Irish will have to find ways to recover in another tough match against Canada.