This is the first time Tony Gustavsson will coach against France during his Matildas tenure (Photo: Tristan Furney/FFA)

The Matildas and France clash at Marvel Stadium tomorrow night has been classified as a sell-out. A record 50,000 people are expected to turn up to see the Aussies before their home World Cup campaign kicks off next Thursday night.   

Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson says that the occasion will be a celebration of women’s football. 

“Tomorrow will be an amazing opportunity to celebrate women’s football, to celebrate football, and to celebrate what we have achieved already,” he said.

The crowd is expected to eclipse the previous record for a Matildas home game of 36,109, that was set against the USA at Stadium Australia in November 2021.

In what will be a dress rehearsal for their opening World Cup match at that very venue next Thursday against Ireland, defender Ellie Carpenter said the Matildas will have to get accustomed to playing in front of these crowds.  

“This is a pre-show to our opening game, she said. 

“Obviously, tomorrow’s 50,000 and next Thursday is 83,000. So I guess the feeling of tomorrow, you’re going to think ‘woah, this is incredible’ and then have in the back of your mind that next week is going to [almost] be double this.” 

As for the game itself, Gustavsson faces a selection conundrum as the whole 23-player squad has arrived in camp. Kyah Simon “most likely” won’t play as she prepares for the World Cup, however he says that he wishes that everyone could be selected for tomorrow night. 

“I wish we could play all the players tomorrow, that would be a dream scenario,” he said.

“There’s [a] limited amount of subs, it’s an official FIFA game, but we’re also going to have that approach that we want as many players as possible to get minutes tomorrow.”   

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Under those circumstances, the Matildas head coach reassured that he might make some unexpected changes throughout the match, in order to give other players more opportunity being so close to the World Cup. That being said, the game tomorrow will help Gustavsson pick his starting and finishing teams for the tournament. 

“You will see adjustment in accordance to [the match being six days before the World Cup opener against Ireland]. So, if you’re surprised if someone has a phenomenal game tomorrow and I take her off at half-time, it’s going to be different,” he said. 

“It will be a good indicator of the starting line-up, but also the finishing line-up.”

Gustavsson believes that the match will make for good preparation for their journey to World Cup success given France’s standing in the FIFA rankings.

“It’s part of the bigger plan that we have prepped for for years. We need to play top, European oppositions and make sure we mesh ourselves against those top teams,” he said. 

“France is one of the few teams we haven’t played under my tenure, so I’m really happy to get the chance to do that. They have some similarities to some of the other teams if you look at formation and principles of how they want to play (look at England for example compared to France) but what’s different is the individual profile in the different positions.”  

The match between the Matildas and France will kick-off at 7:30pm AEST. 

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