Australia’s clash with the Netherlands this Sunday morning (kick off 2:15am AEST) offers head coach Ante Milicic one last look at his charges in action before the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup commences.
Milicic and the Westfield Matildas have been fine-tuning preparations for Sunday’s international friendly fixture in Eindhoven over the course of their pre-World Cup camp in Antalya, Turkey.
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Fitness and playing style were two of the key focuses for Milicic – and in world number eight-ranked Netherlands, Australia have a great opportunity to put practice into action against a high-quality opponent.
Coached by former UEFA Women’s Championship winning-midfielder Sarina Wiegman, the Netherlands boast several big-name players who are entering Sunday’s friendly on the back of strong domestic seasons.
Prolific 22-year-old forward Vivianne Miedema and renown play-maker Danielle van de Donk excelled for Arsenal in the English club’s Championship win under former Westfield W-League coach Joe Montemurro, while defender Stefanie van der Gragt and striker Lieke Martens of Barcelona finished runners up to Alex Chidiac’s Atletico Madrid in Spain’s La Liga Femenina.
The Oranjevrouwen should provide Australia with a great test of their credentials, before focus turns to France, and the Westfield Matildas' opening group match against Italy in Valenciennes on Sunday 9 June at 1.00pm local time (9.00pm AEST).
What they said
“They [Netherlands] are a top 10 nation and they probably have one of the strongest strike-forces in the world, if not in the world definitely Europe, they have a very strong front three.
“It is a good test for us and at the same time it gets us to realise that this is the final hit out before Italy, so huge importance on that game.”
"Australia is the last test.
"We want to start the World Cup with a base. Australia is a very strong opponent. And of course, we hope we can set up a good game there."
Australia’s last five matches: LWWWW
Netherlands’ last five matches: WWDLL
Westfield Matildas: 6
MILICIC'S VERDICT: 'The standard has been high from the start'
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How to watch
Don’t miss a second of Sunday morning’s final pre-World Cup friendly against the Netherlands. The match will broadcast live on FOX SPORTS and on SBS VICELAND, as well as on the My Football Live App.
Netherlands vs. Westfield Matildas (International Friendly)
Date: Saturday, 1 June 2019
Venue: Philips Stadium, Eindhoven, Netherlands
Kick-off: 6.15pm (local) – 2.15am (Sunday, 2 June 2019)
Broadcast: Live in Australia on FOX SPORTS