Canberra, Feb 28 (IANS) Australia’s national women’s football team will play France in their final game before the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Football Australia (FA) on Tuesday announced the Matildas will face fifth-ranked Les Bleues in Melbourne on July 14 in a “send-off match” six days before opening their World Cup campaign, reports Xinhua news agency.
It will mark the first time in 22 years that the French national team has played in Australia, which means the Matildas will have played nine of the world’s current top-10 teams in the lead-up to the home World Cup.
“To have a ‘send off match’ against a team the calibre of France in a special city like Melbourne presents a wonderful opportunity for us to be dialed into the significance for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 early,” head coach Tony Gustavsson said in a media release.
“A dynamic, technically brilliant team over the years, France have been consistently one of the best nations in the world with incredible quality across all parts of their game. It will be one final challenge for us just days out from our World Cup opener.”
France were beaten by eventual champions the US in the quarter-finals of the 2019 World Cup and made the semi-finals at Euro 2022.
However, captain Wendie Renard has announced she will not play for Les Bleues amid tensions with the head coach, Corinne Diacre, and the French Football Federation (FFF).
The Matildas’ last match in Melbourne was a 4-0 win over Olympic silver medalists Sweden – the most significant win under Gustavsson.
Following the match against France, the Matildas will play their opening World Cup game against Ireland in Sydney on July 20.