Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson says Australia’s Cup of Nations opponents have been “carefully selected” as he attempts to “mirror” what his side can expect during this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The Matildas will meet Spain, the Czech Republic and Jamaica next month in a six-match tournament to be held exclusively in NSW.
Teams will play against each other once in a round-robin format, with the highest-placed side to be crowned Cup of Nations champions.
“Spain, Czechia (Czech Republic) and Jamaica have been carefully selected for the Cup of Nations to ensure we have the right preparation heading into the FIFA Women’s World Cup,” Gustavsson said.
“Not only are all three nations filled with quality, but they also provide a difference in playing style and approach, with the three match days aiming to mirror tournament group play to the best of our ability.
“As a team, we love playing at home and the Cup of Nations will provide that opportunity to fully experience the ‘12th player’ support from Australia.”
Tournament matches will be played in Sydney, Gosford and Newcastle.
Football Australia chief executive officer James Johnson said: “The Cup of Nations will continue to take football to regional areas with the Central Coast, Greater Sydney, and the Hunter presented an opportunity to farewell the Matildas ahead of July’s (Women’s World Cup) as well as get a taste for the international football festival that awaits in 2023.”
Of the four nations competing, only the Czech Republic will not take part in the Women’s World Cup, having failed to qualify.
“Three of the four sides will be aiming for success at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and we expect the quality of the six matches to be world-class.” Johnson said.
Cup of Nations schedule:
Thursday, February 16, Industree Group Stadium, Gosford: Spain v Jamaica, 4.10pm (AEDT); Australia v Czech Republic 7.10pm (AEDT).
Sunday, February 19, CommBank Stadium, Sydney: Jamaica v Czech Republic, 2.50pm (AEDT); Australia v Spain, 6pm (AEDT).
Wednesday, February 22, McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle: Czech Republic v Spain, 2pm (AEDT); Australia v Jamaica 7.10pm (AEDT).