The Matildas will get one final hit-out ahead of their quest to lift football’s biggest prize this June, with the announcement on Monday that Head Coach Ante Milicic’s side would clash with European powers the Netherlands on 1 June (2 June (AEDT)).
Current champions of Europe, the Oranjevrouwen are ranked sixth in the World heading into the World Cup – in which they have been drawn in Group E alongside traditional power Canada, Cameroon, and New Zealand – and feature superstar talent such as Barcelona’s Lieke Martens (the 2017 FIFA World Player of the Year), Arsenal’s Daniëlle van de Donk, Sari van Veenendaal and Vivianne Miedema, Olympique Lyonnais’ Shanice van de Sanden and Vålerenga’s Sherida Spitse (who is the most capped player in her nation’s history with 160).
After finishing second in their group behind Norway, the Dutch were forced to go through UEFA qualifying’s second-placed playoffs in order to book a spot in at the World Cup; dispatching Denmark 4-1 on aggregate in the first round and eliminating the Swiss by the same aggregate scoreline in the final.
More recently, Head Coach Sarina Wiegman’s side finished 11th at the 2019 Algarve Cup in Portugal: defeating China 4-2 on penalties after losing both of their group games against Spain (2-0) and Poland (1-0).
Australia and the Netherlands last met at the Algarve Cup in March 2017, in which a brace by Emily Gielnik and goal from Alanna Kennedy propelled the Matildas to a 3-2 win over their orange-clad foes – Miedema and Spitse on the scoresheet for the Europeans.
— Westfield Matildas (@TheMatildas) April 8, 2019
The Matildas will enter the contest at the Philips Stadium following the conclusion of their pre-Women’s World Cup preparations in Antalya, Turkey.
Milicic is expected to name his final World Cup side shortly before that camp commences at the end of April, with the players last chance to impress him in a green and gold jersey coming in the 5-3 defeat at the hands of the United States in Denver.
“We believe that this match against the Netherlands will come at a perfect time for our team,” Milicic said as part of the announcement.
“We will have completed our ten-day training camp in Turkey where the focus will be on embedding our style of play and tactical principles.
“With this match against a strong opponent coming a week before our first game in France, we will be able to get a good gauge of what aspects of our approach need to be fine-tuned prior to the start of the Women’s World Cup.”
The contest between Australia and the Netherlands is set to be broadcast live in Australia on FOX SPORTS on 2 June at 2:15 am AEDT.