Be Proud Matildas, Your FIFA Women’s World Cup Heroics Have United An Entire Nation

"That's Australia, that's the future of Australia. So investment in football is investment in Australia's future."

Be Proud Matildas, Your FIFA Women’s World Cup Heroics Have United An Entire Nation

Image: Getty

The FIFA Women’s World Cup journey may be over for the Matildas, but Australia has proven it’s ready to become a football nation. Now is the time to keep this momentum going.

I was at the game in Sydney last night as the Matildas fell to an old rival. The pendulum swung throughout the tense 90 minutes under the lights of Accor Stadium as 75,000 fans sang and cheered for their national heroes, willing them to continue this historic journey that has inspired an entire nation.

Sam Kerr’s wondergoal was breathtaking to witness; the Matildas captain picked up the ball from the halfway line and ate up the yards, letting loose on the edge of England’s box to release a rocket that skimmed the underside of the bar. It felt like momentum was with them in those moments, emboldened by the raucous support of the electric home support.

I’ve been to some big matches in my life: London derbies between Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal; Barcelona’s Camp Nou and the San Siro in Milan. The thunderous noise echoing around the stadium last night was up there with the rest of them.

In the end, England’s quality showed. But what the Matildas have accomplished on home soil will inspire a whole generation of new football fans who have discovered a passion for the game. Now, as former Socceroos captain Craig Foster revealed to DMARGE, we have to keep this momentum going.

“If you went into a stadium, and you loved what you saw, and if you are in love with the Matildas like the rest of us, then the only way to keep that going and to have more of this emotion and this passion is to get in that stadium and support the local competitions. That’s what we need you to do.”

The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup has seen some staggering viewing numbers; 7.2 million people tuned in to watch the Matildas’ quarter-final triumph over France, and more than 11 million people watched last night’s game – the highest figures for an Australian sporting event since Cathy Freeman won the 400m gold medal during the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Sam Kerr’s solo goal was breathtaking to witness. Image: Sports Press

Already, we’re seeing this translate into domestic competitions. Sydney FC Women’s announced they had broken membership records two months ahead of the new season, with Sydney FC CEO Adam Santo saying the uptake in sales is due to the excitement surrounding the Matildas. He’s anticipating the next season will be momentous for the club.

“This is a historic moment for football in this country and I’m excited to see people are rushing out to buy their Sydney FC Memberships,” he said. “It will be an unforgettable season for both the Men’s and the Women’s leagues off the back of the biggest female sporting event to hit our shores.”

The challenge now is keeping this momentum going. For a sports-mad country like Australia, football has unequivocally arrived. The Matildas have demonstrated sport’s unrivalled power to indiscriminately unite communities.

“Im telling the government here: Albo, you’ve woken up now to the beauty of this game, the way it unifies the multicultural power, how it brings all of our cultures together, its contribution to social cohesion,” Foster told DMARGE. “Have a look at Australia this month, at all of us; any colour, any gender, any culture, all coming together, feeling the same thing. That’s Australia, that’s the future of Australia. So investment in football is investment in Australia’s future.”