Ultimate Guide: Tournament of Nations opponents

The Tournament of Nations is fast approaching and with it the chance for Australia to remind the world they're a force to be reckoned with.

Last year’s Tournament of Nations made the world stand up and take notice of the Aussies as they picked off the United States, Japan and Brazil to claim the inaugural prize.

READ: 'We go with the ambition to win it': Stajic outlines Tournament of Nations ambition

BROADCAST: Tournament of Nations guide

This time around will feature the same three world heavyweights, and will be a series of clashes not to be missed.

Read on as we run the rule over Australia's opponents ahead of the Tournament of Nations on Friday 27 July (AEST).


The South Americans are ranked seventh in the world following their Copa América Femenina triumph in April. Brazil have a storied recent history with the Westfield Matildas and will be out for revenge after going down to Alen Stajcic's side three times in the past year.


Brazil enter the competition in formidable nick having won all seven fixtures played in 2018.

All of their matches came at the Copa América Femenina back in April, in which the side conceded just two goals and powered to their seventh tournament victory.

Brazil Camila
Camila scored the solitary Brazil goal in their 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Australia last July.

Brazil were far too good throughout the tournament, beating Chile 3-0 in the final and clinching big victories over Ecuador (8-0) and Bolivia (7-1) on their way to the trophy.

They'll be intent on making up for an underwhelming 2017 Tournament of Nations display. The side grabbed just a solitary point following a 1-1 draw with Japan, were beaten 4-3 by the United States and hammered 6-1 by Australia.

History against Westfield Matildas

Of course, that 6-1 win over Brazil was a famous one for the Westfield Matildas, made all the more spectacular by the fact the side took the lead in the second minute and went on to lose by five.

The two sides have been involved in other stellar matches in recent years, including Australia's 1-0 win in the 2015 Women's World Cup.

Brazil avenged that particular defeat by knocking the the Westfield Matildas out on penalties in the 2016 Olympics' quarter-final.

Last September the sides met in two friendly matches on Australian soil, with the Matildas kicking on from their superb Tournament of Nations display. Alen Stajcic's side defeated Brazil 2-1 in Sydney and 3-2 in Newcastle in two matches that underlined the huge strides made by the Westfield Matildas.

Kennedy bossing Brazil in September



Vadão is the man at the helm of the Brazilian outfit. The 61-year-old boasts a wealth of managerial experience in the Brazilian top flight and is in his second stint as head coach.

He was in the dugout from 2014-2016 before securing a move to Brazilian side Guarani, but was recalled the national team in September last year - just says after Brazil's second consecutive friendly defeat to Australia in Newcastle.

This time around, Brazil hasn't lost a single match under Vadão's leadership. It's a daunting statistic and one the Westfield Matildas will be keen to correct.

The main threat to Australia's chances of replicating their 2017 dominance over their South American counterparts will be captain and all-time leading goalscorer Marta.

Widely regarded as the best female player of all time, the 32-year-old forward has 110 goals in 133 appearances for her country. 


Brazil will be the first challenge for the Westfield Matildas this tournament, and two sides kick off at 6:15AM on Friday July 27 (AEST).

Brazilian superstar Marta has been named to face the Matildas next month in Australia.
Captain and goal-scoring sensation Marta could cause problems for the Matildas backline.

United States

The three time World Champions have consistently set the standard for women's football, and have maintained their position at the pinnacle of the game for a remarkable amount of time.

America's top-dog status took a massive hit in last year's tournament after being overshadowed by the Westfield Matildas. This time around, they'll be fixed on setting the record straight.


The United States have lost just one match in their last 17 - and that came against Australia at the 2017 Tournament of Nations.

Since that 1-0 defeat to the Westfield Matildas, they've been unbeaten and enter the tournament looking to flex their muscles once more.

Formidable: America line up before last June's 2-1 win over China.

USA's most recent fixtures arrived in the form of a double header against China on home soil. The side won in tight affairs on both occasions, winning 1-0 in Utah and 2-1 in Ohio.

Jill Ellis' team claimed their second SheBelieves title in March with a 1-0 defeat over England in the final, and followed that victory up with two impressive friendly wins over Mexico in April.

America finished runners-up at last year's Tournament of Nations, their chances ultimately scuppered by their 1-0 opening day loss to Australia. It was the first time the side had lost to the Westfield Matildas in 27 matches,

Ellis' side defeated Brazil 4-3 and Japan 3-0 in their other fixtures to finish three points behind Australia.

History against Westfield Matildas

Australia's history-making triumph over the United States in 2017 arrived 20 years after their heaviest ever loss to their American counterparts, a 9-1 thrashing back in 1997. It's one of 24 losses in total Australia has suffered at the hands of the US.

Most recently, Australia went down 3-1 to America in their opening group match of the 2015 Women's World Cup.


English-born Jill Ellis has been in the dugout since 2014. The side claimed the 2015 World Cup under her tutelage but failed to make the semi-finals of the 2016 Olympics for the first time in their illustrious history.

But that failure is a minor blip for Ellis, who has otherwise ruled over an efficient and well-organised side during her four-year tenure.

Key to America's hopes at the upcoming tournament will be co-captain and midfielder Carli Lloyd. Lloyd is the sixth-most capped American of all-time with 254 appearances for her country and racked up a century of goals earlier in the year.

The 35-year-old veteran has been there through some of the country’s biggest moments in recent years – winners of the World Cup in 2015, runners-up in 2011, and third-place in 2007. 


The United States is Australia’s second opponent at the upcoming Tournament of Nations, kick-off is at 6:15am, July 30 (AEST).

Carli Lloyd United States USA
Carli Lloyd scored a hat-trick in the 2015 World Cup final - the first woman to do so in a final.


Fresh off a famous Asian Cup win over the Westfield Matildas in April, neighbouring rivals Japan will be hoping to add more silverware to their collection come the end of July.


Japan have played just once since their Asian Cup success: a 3-1 victory over New Zealand in June. They’ve only lost three matches and drawn two from their last sixteen since the 2017 Tournament of Nations. 

The Asian Champions will be keen on avenging last season's tournament after failing to win a match.

Although the side avoided finishing bottom after ending with a superior goal difference to Brazil, a 3-0 defeat to USA and 4-2 loss to Australia made it a tournament to forget.

History against Westfield Matildas

Japan faced Australia twice in April's tournament, registering a 1-1 draw in the group stages and winning 1-0 in the final courtesy of a late Kumi Yokoyama goal.

It’s the second Asian Cup in a row which Japan has triumphed 1-0 over Australia in the final – they did it back in 2014 too.

Japan also caused us tournament heartbreak in the 2015 World Cup, eliminating the Westfield Matildas in the quarter-finals.

Japan 2015 World Cup
Japan broke Aussie hearts at the 2015 World Cup.


The current boss of the national team is Asako Takakura, who was appointed in 2016 and is the first female coach of the Japan women’s national team in history.

She won the AFC Championships with both the U17 and U20 sides before her eventual ascent to the senior side.

Japanese star Saki Kumagai.
Saki Kumagai could pose problems for the Matildas attack.

The key woman for Japan is captain Saki Kumagai, who is just one cap shy of reaching 100 for her country.

Currently plying her trade with women's powerhouses Lyon, Kumagai is a no-nonsense defender who marshals the rearguard with authority.

She scored the winning penalty in the 2011 World Cup final against the United States and captained her country to the 2018 Asian Cup victory.


Australia round off their tournament against Japan on Friday 3 August, with the match kicking off at 7.45AM (AEST).

2018 Tournament of Nations – Westfield Matildas Match Schedule

Brazil v Westfield Matildas
Date: Thursday, 26 July 2018 (local)
Venue: Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, Kansas
Kick-off: 3.15pm (local) (6.15am AEST – Friday, 27 July 2018)
Broadcast: LIVE in Australia on FOX SPORTS 507

USA v Westfield Matildas
Date: Sunday, 29 July 2018 (local)
Venue: Pratt & Whitney Stadium, East Hartford, Connecticut
Kick-off: 7pm (local) (9am AEST – Monday, 30 July 2018)
Broadcast: LIVE in Australia on FOX SPORTS 505

Westfield Matildas v Japan
Date: Thursday, 2 August 2018 (local)
Venue: Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Illinois
Kick-off: 4.45pm (local) (7.45am AEST – Friday, 3 August 2018)
Broadcast: LIVE in Australia on FOX SPORTS 505