The Sydney ground is a circumspect place for the birth of one of Australia's favourite sporting sides, where 40 years ago this month the Matildas played their first ever friendly.

It was against New Zealand, the team featured the likes of Julie Dolan, Sue Monteath and Cyndy Heydon, and the final score was 2-2.

Now, four decades later, now with the Matildas occupying pride of place among the world's greatest football teams, FFA chairman Chris Nikou said this side laid the groundwork for everything that followed.

“These athletes started a movement, not just a team, which has now become one of the most powerful, popular and recognisable in Australia.”

“Many of these women worked full time, while playing for the national team and for many years, this continued to be the case.”

“There have been 204 Matildas represent our country in ‘A’ internationals over the past 40 years and today we celebrate each of them and thank them for their contribution to our sport."

Nikou also made special mention of Cheryl Salisbury, who will become the first Matilda to be inducted into the Australian Sporting Hall of Fame on October 10.

“Later this month Cheryl Salisbury will become the first female footballer to be inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, which rightly recognises the sacrifices and efforts of our female footballers over this time," he continued.

“Today many of our Westfield Matildas are full time professional footballers, many playing around the world and when they represent their national team today on home soil, it is in front of big crowds.”

“We recognise there is still work to do to ensure our female athletes have more opportunities on and off the park from the grassroots up to our national teams, but today we look back and celebrate the immense strides made.”