Former Westfield Matildas defender and Fox Sports pundit Amy Duggan gives her thoughts on Sunday's FIFA Women's World Cup draw.
To be the world champion – the goal of every past, present, and future Matilda – the chance comes about once every four years after countless hours of training, preparation and qualification.
For the current generation, the road to the top becomes a little clearer this weekend.
Anticipation builds for players and fans as we await the World Cup draw. Many fans will rise early on Sunday morning (4am AEDT on SBS and Optus Sport), or later wake with trepidation to find out the Matildas’ fate and how kind the football gods have been.
In the biggest women’s football tournament in the world, the pathway to the finals is determined by the draw, and the bracket you're placed in.
The pots will be revealed on Friday December 7, as FIFA reveals its latest world rankings.
With the Westfield Matildas likely to be in Pot One, it means we avoid France, the host nation, along with the other top ranked nations which currently include the United States, Germany, England and Canada.
Pot Two will almost certainly feature Euro Champions Sweden, Brazil, Netherlands, Asian Cup Champions Japan, big improvers Spain, and the 10th ranked Norway. Australia’s opponent from this pot will be our biggest threat. However, we’re fortunate we don’t play Japan.
The remaining two pots feature the rest of the qualified nations, none of them easy beats, as we saw with Chile’s win in Penrith.
There are no easy games at a World Cup, but Australia has no-one to fear.
Our 2018 performances alone yielded results against world number one, the United States, a convincing win over Brazil, a hard-fought draw away to England and a big revenge win against Chile, as well as reaching the final of the Asian Cup.
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A ‘Group of Death’ is not a concern for our golden girls – they are too far up the rankings to be concerned with tags. What this draw does do, however, is allow Alen Stajcic and the team to narrow their focus and streamline preparation for the group games.
I would personally like to see a meeting with the final team to qualify for the tournament, New Zealand, which would see Australia up against former Matildas coach Tom Sermanni.
Also, what Australian doesn’t love a trans-Tasman challenge?
Australia has shown its ability to match and beat the best in the world. The Matildas have belief, and whichever teams they’re grouped with will let us find out if they can take the next step in their already remarkable journey.
The world’s best teams are consistent, patient, creative, take their chances, and above all are ruthless - that’s the Matildas team I can’t wait to see get through the group stage on their way to World Cup glory.
This is closer than we think.