After falling short of a place at the 2017 Algarve Cup, the Matildas brought home some silverware in the 2017 Tournament of Nations trophy.
The last time the Matildas had won a competition was seven years ago with the 2010 AFC Women’s Asian Cup.
While the Tournament of Nations is a newly created four nations friendly competition, there were so many little victories that gave it credence.
Chief among them was Australia finally beating the US women’s national team, on their turf no less, via a Tameka Butt goal. After 27 games without a win against the US, beating the reigning world champions was significant moment.
For so long, Australia had threatened against the top nations without that crucial mental breakthrough. There are many arguments that can be made about the win and the state of the USA opposition, however, these are the matches Australia needs to win.
It also gave the team a sense of belief that was evident for the rest of the year. It is belief as much as anything that helps teams win the big trophies and finally getting the USA monkey off the back is a big step forward.
[MORE: De Vanna’s Matildas record | Memories of 2017]
In the next match the Sam Kerr show reached another level as she scored a hat trick against Japan, another one of the Matildas’ fiercest rivals in a 4-2 victory.
To top it off results-wise was the 6-1 drubbing of Brazil. Brazil! Braces to Caitlin Foord and De Vanna, as well as goals to Kerr and Katrina Gorry ensured Australia swept all before them with 11 goals scored and only three conceded.
Beyond the results, Australia was able to put in three solid, winning performances in quick succession. The ability to back up in a tournament environment is invaluable heading into the Asian Cup, World Cup and Olympics over the next three years.
Sam Kerr continued to build her case as one of the best footballers on the planet, top scoring with four goals to her name.
While Lisa De Vanna also became the Matildas leading goal scorer, with her double against Brazil putting her ahead of Kate Gill.
The Tournament of Nations was 270 minutes of enjoyable quality football from a team that’s already done so much in the last few years. The individual wins and the collective victory got Aussie fans believing that perhaps major tournament success isn’t that far away.