Just a month after their tour of Europe, the Westfield Matildas are ready for their next challenge as they take on Chile in the two-match Seven Consulting International Series.
Coach Alen Stajcic has picked a strong squad which sees the return of several regulars, including Sam Kerr and Emily van Egmond, as the countdown to the FIFA Women's World Cup 2019 continues.
Chile are ranked 39th in the world - 33 places below the Westfield Matildas - but have qualified for the 2019 showpiece and will be eager to prove they are ready to mix it with the top teams in international football.
Here’s all you need to know ahead of the first match on Saturday afternoon!
KEY OPTA STATS
- The Westfield Matildas have now gone two games without a win. The last time they went longer without a victory was a four-game stint from June to August in 2016.
- Australia have never played Chile at the top level in women’s football.
- Chile have won just two of their last nine friendlies, failing to score a goal on five occasions in that time.
WHERE AND WHEN
Date: Saturday, 10 November 2018
Venue: Panthers Stadium
Kick-off: 3:30pm (AEDT)
In their last four games, Chile have registered one win, one draw and two losses.
The win (2-1) and draw (2-2) came in October against South Africa, who at the time were ranked 51st in the world.
A month earlier, the United States inflicted 4-0 and 3-0 defeats on Chile.
Chile will, however, be hungry to impress as they have qualified for their first FIFA Women’s World Cup.
A fixture against the Westfield Matildas is the perfect test for a side wanting to measure their quality with some of the best on the global stage.
Australia, meanwhile, claimed an admirable 1-1 draw with England in London last month thanks to Clare Polkinghorne's late header.
It was a strong rebound from an inexperienced outfit following a 2-0 defeat to France four days earlier.
WESTFIELD MATILDAS SQUAD NEWS
The return of Kerr and Van Egmond along with the likes of Katrina Gorry, Alanna Kennedy, Lydia Williams and Laura Alleway gives Stajcic plenty of experienced options.
Kerr was involved in three of Perth Glory’s goals in their tremendous 4-4 draw with Canberra United in the Westfield W-League on the weekend, while Gorry and van Egmond add steel and skill in equal measure.
There are also some youngsters with serious talent, with the likes of Princess Ibini and Amy Sayer retaining their places from the Europe tour.
Fellow teenager Alex Chidiac, based in Spain, brings a slightly different flavour, and her two goals in six games for Atletico Madrid are a hint as to the guile and skill she possesses to turn any game on its head.
Meanwhile, defender Gema Simon has been called in to replace injured Newcastle Jets team-mate Larissa Crummer.
CURRENT WORLD RANKINGS
The last time the Westfield Matildas played in Penrith and Newcastle, they were confirmed as world class with 2-1 and 3-2 wins over Brazil.
While the results were great, what was more impressive was the style of football and their maturity to hold onto leads.
Chile are ranked significantly lower than Brazil, but will offer their own challenges which should not be discounted.
But with several stars back, the Westfield Matildas appear to be building towards something special.
And that means fans can expect entertainment at what should be a buzzing Panthers Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
You can purchase tickets here for the Westfield Matildas’ opening clash against Chile.