The veteran defender was withdrawn from Australia's squad on the eve of the tournament after a foot injury, making her the hard-luck story of the campaign.

The hardy Melbourne Victory centre back didn't think twice about staying on through the World Cup anyway.

"There was no way I was going to leave them," she said.

Alleway reached into her own pocket to travel alongside the Matildas.

She mentored her replacement, Karly Roestbakken, and has made a bold prediction about the 18-year-old's future.

Alleway also helped Chloe Logarzo, one of Australia's best players at the tournament, with a beloved pre-game ritual.

And in return, her shirt was hung in the dressing room by coach Ante Milicic as the team harnessed the emotion of having a much-loved team member suffer such a cruel fate.

The thin rewards of being a female footballer are such that players circle major tournaments as their big opportunities, and their major earning potential.

It's for those reasons that Alleway busted a gut to try and make the squad, and fell apart when she didn't get there.

"I hurt my foot in a tackle with Em van Egmond in training in Turkey. It felt like totally nothing," she said.

"I was kind of sore walking around the hotel but thought nothing of it. The next day, I was in excruciating pain."

Alleway was sent to hospital, where they waited for "hours and hours" only to get an unclear scan.

"They thought I had nothing wrong with me. I flew on thinking I had a bit of a sore foot," she said. "I was getting smoked in the gym because they wanted me to keep my condition.

"I then got another scan in Holland, sent it back to Australia and was 'uh oh'.

"They basically said it was 90 per cent chance a stress fracture, meaning four to six weeks out and if you push it too hard, you can break it."

With such a rich reward so close, Alleway kept her focus.

"Ante said 'even if you have a one per cent chance of making it back, we want to give you that opportunity'. So I kept working," she said.

"Some days I sat on the bike and cried because it felt hopeless. It felt so terrible."

A squad deadline loomed.