Following their dominant performance in the inaugural Cup of Nations in February, the Matildas now travel to Colorado for a friendly against the FIFA world number one ranked side, the USA.
This will be one of the last international friendlies the Matildas play against a top five ranked side before the FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off in June.
Although the Aussies have traditionally struggled against the USA (having lost all four friendlies between 2012 and 2015), the Matildas have begun to pose a serious challenge to their new rivals over the past two years.
In the inaugural Tournament of Nations in 2017, the Matildas shocked many in the footballing world by defeating the USA 1-0 in Washington thanks to a clever Tameka Butt strike. Australia would go on to win the tournament undefeated after convincing wins over both Japan and Brazil.
In the same tournament the following year, Australia and the USA saw out a 1-1 draw after a dramatic 90th minute equaliser by midfielder Lindsey Horan, which cancelled out a blistering counter-attacking goal by Chloe Logarzo.
While both finished on equal points that year, the hosts would go on to lift the trophy thanks to a superior goal difference (+5 vs +4).
There is no doubt now that the Matildas are heavyweights in world football. Despite a period of underwhelming performances in mid-2018, the Aussies have maintained their no.6 world ranking and will head into the World Cup as a seeded team.
Meanwhile, the USA has had their own hiccups to deal with, having finished runners-up in the 2019 SheBelieves Cup after two 2-2 draws with Japan and England.
This stuttering period was preceded by some unconvincing 1-0 friendly wins over Spain, Scotland, and Portugal at the end of 2018, as well as a 3-1 loss in January to upcoming World Cup hosts France.
Denverrrrrr we coming for ya 😍 pic.twitter.com/oOSQ7g6Zk8— Lindsey Horan (@Lindseyhoran11) April 1, 2019
These two teams are meeting at an interesting time in their preparation cycles.
While the Matildas are arguably on the upswing after sweeping the Cup of Nations, USA head coach Jill Ellis continues to experiment with different players in different positions, sometimes to the detriment of their results. This upcoming clash will provide much insight into what we can expect from both teams heading into the World Cup.