We knew it was coming: Caitlin Foord, Ellie Carpenter and Hayley Raso will be joining their countrywomen in France this year as members of Australia’s World Cup team, as Matildas head coach Ante Milicic announced today. They’ll be departing the club after next weekend’s game against the Washington Spirit for pre-tournament camp in Turkey.
Caitlin Foord will be appearing, amazingly, in her third World Cup at only age 24, after first being included in the 2011 World Cup squad at age 16. Foord played at right back in that tournament and earned Young Player of the Tournament honors and has since turned herself into an indispensable attacking player for the Matildas. She’s got 16 goals in her 71 appearances (including this spectacular effort in their recent 5-3 loss to the US), including one at the 2016 Olympics against Germany, but has yet to score at a World Cup, a record she’ll certainly be working to correct.
Ellie Carpenter will be headed to her first World Cup but at age 19 is already an established member of the squad with 31 caps under her belt, and will be expected to start at right back for the team. She’s had to deal with tough assignments for years, including having to mark Marta in the 2016 Olympics at age 16, and has no reason to be awed by the occasion.
Hayley Raso is the only one of the group who doesn’t start for her country. Raso made it in the 2015 World Cup but did not make any appearances, and has a tough route to minutes in this World Cup as well, with the Matildas going with a two-forward look with Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord. The depth doesn’t look any less intimidating: Lisa De Vanna, on her fourth World Cup, is still capable of magic off the bench, and Emily Gielnik has pushed her way into the squad by scoring some important goals off the bench in recent games. World Cups are tough tournaments though, and there’s no reason Raso can’t add to her 34 caps and 3 goals if Australia decide to go with three in attack.