Though the Women’s World Cup looms, there’s little chance the Matildas will sweat on the result on Thursday’s hit-out at Sydney’s Leichhardt Oval.
That’s not the same for the Kiwis, who are viewing the match as a great chance to do over their trans-Tasman rivals.
New Zealand and Melbourne City defender Rebekah Stott said they were eyeing opportunity, given Australia’s tumultuous recent coaching dramas following the sacking of Alen Stajcic and appointment of Ante Milicic.
«It might be a good time to beat the (Australian) girls because they’ve been through a lot quite recently,» Stott said. «Absolutely we want to win. It’s been a while.»
The Football Ferns, the world No.19, are in fact on a 28-game winless run against Australia.
They drew 1-1 in their last outing — in 2016 in Melbourne — but haven’t beaten the Matildas since the 1994 Oceania Women’s Championship in Papua New Guinea, a tournament Australia won anyway.
«We used to play a lot more. It’s always such a good game when you play against Australia,» Stott said.
«There’s a lot at stake for us.»
Stott and her teammates went through a similar experience to the Matildas last year, when a player-led revolt caused New Zealand Football to investigate and part ways with coach Andreas Heraf.
They turned to ex-Matildas boss Tom Sermanni, a move which Stott has applauded.
«Tom’s amazing. He’s come into our environment and been super chill. It suits the way us Kiwis are. It’s been a great transition,» she said.
Stott nominated returning defender Abby Erceg, who helped North Carolina Courage to the US domestic title last season, and key goalscorer Sarah Gregorius as chief strengths of her side.