Five glaring reasons why the Matildas are Australia’s most beloved sporting team
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There’s no doubt that the Matildas are one of Australia’s most beloved sporting teams.
I’d even go as far as claiming that they are the most popular and inspirational sporting brands to come from our home nation.
In a country that is often dominated by sports such as cricket, rugby league, and AFL, the Tillies still manage to consistently be a side that the public attaches themselves to.
With the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, there’s no doubt that the appetite and love for the Matildas will grow tenfold.
There’s just something so invigorating about having your side play in a tournament on home soil and be genuine contenders among a sea of teams who are among the best in the world.
If you don’t believe me now that the Australian women’s football side is the most popular sporting team in our nation, I’d hazard a guess that by the end of the tournament, the Matildas would have changed your mind.
But before then, I’m here to give you five glaring reasons why they are already the most adored side from Australia.
You can never downplay how much of an impact an individual has on the public perception of a whole team.
Just look at Lionel Messi for instance, the men’s World Cup was as much about his journey to the trophy as it was about Argentina’s.
And when you have a player as generational as Sam Kerr on your side people can’t be helped but drawn to that star power.
Australia’s beloved striker has been instrumental in the growth in popularity and ability of the Matildas. She embodies who the Matildas are.
She’s a name that is as well-known on the world stage as any other footballer, consistently the top goalscorer in the English Women’s Super League, a Ballon d’Or contender, and a video game cover star.
No doubt she’s a world-class footballer first and foremost, but you can’t deny that she’s a bonafide celebrity, and for Australians - sporting greats are their most beloved celebrities.
Kerr has consistently been a performer for both club and country and has grown an army of fans who adore her and see her as an inspiration.
It goes to show the power one individual can have for the popularity of a single team.
The Matildas make people genuinely believe.
Part of the excitement surrounding this World Cup is that the girls really could go all the way - it’s not a far-fetched idea.
Sure you have contenders such as Brazil, USA and Germany who are always thereabouts the final - but in recent times the Matildas have defeated some of the best in the world in Spain and European champions England.
While our national teams in cricket, rugby league, hockey, and even individual stars at the Olympics have always dominated, Australia has never been considered a threat on the world stage in football.
But the Tillies are changing that perception.
And there’s no doubt that football is still one of the most beloved sports in Australia - so to be given that sort of hope is what makes the Matildas so prevalent.
The girls won the 2023 Cup of Nations earlier this year, they’ve won the Asian Cup, and don’t be surprised if they achieve the greatest sporting achievement in Australian history by taking home the World Cup on home soil.
Making a career in other sporting codes has always seemed like an achievable possibility for talented youngsters.
But that’s not necessarily been the case for footballers, and unfortunately, even more of an unlikely possibility for young Australian girls.
But there’s no doubt that over the past decade these girls, and the players that came before them, have paved the way for young players to really believe they could get there.
You have multiple Matildas playing overseas professionally in some of the best teams in the world.
They’ve been pioneers in the growing popularity of women’s sports in Australia, selling out stadiums and breaking attendance records.
And when you actually look out to the stands and see those who are there in attendance - it’s largely made up of young girls and women.
The Matildas are role models as much as they are professional athletes - and they certainly carry themselves in that manner.
The Australian women’s players, both those in the squad and those who aren’t, have worked hard to make a career in football.
They’ve been leaders in this huge movement that will undoubtedly be felt for generations to come.
I mentioned the Sam Kerr factor earlier, but the Matildas are far from a one-woman team.
The growth of women’s football in the European leagues and a real investment by some of the biggest teams in the world have paved the way for our Aussies to ply their trade overseas.
Sam Kerr’s Chelsea has been the best team in England for quite a few seasons now, but some of our Matildas have given them a run for their money.
You have players such as our captain Alanna Kennedy and Mary Fowler playing for Manchester City.
Whilst Caitlin Foord and Steph Catley are instrumental parts of Arsenal.
Elsewhere in the Premier League, we have stars such as Kyah Simon, Clare Wheeler, Courtney Nevin, Mackenzie Arnold, and Lydia Williams showing the Brits how it's done.
Meanwhile, Ellie Carpenter has been bossing the defence for Lyon for the past few years - with the French side considered one of the best in the world for a long time now.
And just recently, our winger extraordinaire Hayley Raso secured an incredibly impressive move to Real Madrid - now that’s a name any football fan knows.
With so many recognisable faces playing all over the world, the Matildas feel like bonafide superstars.
Bringing world-class football to our doorstep
The growth of women’s sports both in Australia and New Zealand undoubtedly contributed to our two nations being picked to be the hosts of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
We have the growing popularity and awe-inspiring ability of the Matildas to thank in part for that decision.
The girl’s consistent success and ability to get the entire country on their side has helped put Australia on the map as a nation that really wants to champion women’s sports.
They’re bringing world-class footballers to our doorstep in the process, with stars from nations across the world coming down under for the World Cup.
We’ll get to see the likes of Ada Hegerberg, Megan Rapione, Marta, Alexia Putellas, and Beth Mead in our stadiums.
These are players that have been pioneers in women’s football.
The success of this tournament could help pave the way for even more world-class football to come to Australia and we have the Tillies to thank for that.
So this entire tournament is our opportunity to thank the Matildas by getting out and supporting not only Australia but all the nations at this event.
And by the end of it, I have no doubt that there will be no questions about which team is the most beloved in Australia.
With the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ tournament about to kick off, LADbible Australia has launched Her Squad: a campaign championing ‘her’, the female athlete realising dreams for millions like her.
In the lead-up to and throughout the tournament, LADbible Australia, its channels and its audience will become ‘her squad’, a team focussed on celebrating the pinnacle of women’s sport on our shores and the unlimited female potential that it will inspire.