On Tuesday 11 April, Manchester City’s English team-mates will be in for a shock when they travel to the Gtech Community Stadium in Brentford for a friendly match against the Australian Matildas. Hayley Raso and Mary Fowler, both of whom have played in England, have warned their English counterparts that they may not be prepared for the weather when they arrive in Australia and New Zealand for the World Cup in July.
Raso and Fowler have both fielded plenty of questions from City’s England contingent, with the former having spent three years in England previously playing at Everton. Fowler, who joined City from Montpellier last June, is among a significant group of Australians in the WSL. The Matildas have not met England since 2018, though Great Britain were beaten by them in the Olympic quarter-finals two years ago.
Tuesday’s friendly will give Australia an opportunity to assess how well prepared they are for the World Cup, which kicks off in just over three months’ time. The joint-hosts, ranked 10th in the world, have never gone beyond the quarter-finals. However, Fowler hopes that bringing the World Cup to Australia will boost development of the women’s game back home.
Raso, who contemplated retirement following a serious back injury in 2018, is looking forward to representing her country in a home World Cup. She said: “When I did come back from that, I played for the national team again and I remembered what it was like, what I had missed and what it would be like if I was to stop. It put a lot of things into perspective. Now I make sure I try to enjoy every day because it could be taken away from you pretty quickly.”
The Australian Matildas squad is packed full of Women’s Super League talent, with Raso and Fowler hoping they can make a mark at the World Cup. The pair are excited to have their friends, family and fanbase all there to support them and are looking forward to having all the teams and big players out there in their country.