Matilda’s Outlook for Final Four Clash with England

Noah Strang
By:
Noah Strang
15/08/2023
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Australia Vs. England: World Cup Semi-final Preview

The Matildas are preparing for their World Cup semi-final match against England with tactics, health concerns, and lineup decisions looming. 

News Insights

  • Matilda’s tactical outlook for a quality England side.
  • Aussies defeated the English in their most recent meeting.
  • Can Matildas take advantage of English absences?
  • How will Sam Kerr be used?

The World Cup co-host Matildas are set to clash With England in the semi-finals on Wednesday night at Sydney’s Stadium Australia. Just a day out from the match, questions relating to tactics, health, and lineup cards linger for both sides. 

Tactical Expectations for Matildas

England has been arguably the best defensive side at the World Cup this year having allowed just two goals in their five matches. Not to mention they have also won each and every one of these matches. 

In fact, since Sarina Wiegman took over as head coach of the Lionesses in 2021, she has lost just a single game out of 36 played. The good news for the Matildas is that game was against them as they defeated England 2-0 in a friendly earlier this year. 

Nonetheless, the Matildas will have their hands full with the current odds-on favourites to win it all. Sports betting apps in Australia are sure to be busy with action leading up to this one. 

Australia will look to continue to play to their strengths using their speed on the wings and up front to attack England’s defense on the counter-attack. 

20-year-old Mary Fowler has been an offensive catalyst for the Matildas all tournament long thriving in her role as a false nine. Her ability to collect the ball in the middle of the pitch and send through precise through balls has created countless chances for the Matildas. 

Where the Matildas will look to push the pace, England will likely opt to try to slow the game down and have it much more controlled. The Lionesses are exceptional in holding possession until a quality opportunity arises though they haven’t been at their best finishing at this World Cup. 

England have held 60% possession or more in four of their five games thus far. 

The Matildas defense and midfield are no doubt aware about this as they will need to be strong when it comes to ball retrieval but not overly aggressive to the point where the Lionesses can pick them apart – something they are capable of. 

Ultimately the match may come down to who is able to enforce their style of play. 

English Key Absences Set to Play a Role in the Match

The fourth ranked team in the world and the defending European Champions England haven’t been at their best seemingly at this World Cup. They were shaky in their opener against Haiti and narrowly ousted Nigeria on penalties in the round of 16. 

This is not necessarily a surprise as the English side has been dealt brutal injury luck. Joint top scorer at last year’s Euros Beth Mead has a ruptured ACL and captain Leah Williamson also has an ACL injury. Neither of the two key figures of English football were able to make the World Cup trip. 

England was then dealt another blow when 21-year-old offensive star Lauren James immaturely stepped on a Nigerian player during their round of 16 clash for which she received a red card and two game suspension. 

How Much Will Sam Kerr Factor into the Match

Sam Kerr’s health has been a topic of discussion around the Matildas the whole tournament. Prior to their quarterfinal match head coach Tony Gustavsson made clear that if she was fit to play a whole match Sam Kerr would be inserted into the starting lineup.

Evidently, she was not as she didn’t start. She did however come on in the 54th minute, play through extra-time and score a penalty. She looked like herself out there and there is potential for her to start against England. 

Although the team has been meshing very nicely with Kerr on the bench, it’s a no brainer to insert her back into the starting lineup if fully healthy. This would likely mean a move to the bench for Emily Van Egmond.

The Matildas will have the power of 80,000 strong behind them on Wednesday night at Stadium Australia. They will look to use their counter-attacking prowess and perhaps the return of Sam Kerr to the starting lineup to keep their magical World Cup run alive.