7 June 2019

Canberra to host Matildas international match and Socceroos 2022 World Cup qualifier

| Lachlan Roberts
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The Socceroos have not played a match in the ACT since 12 November 2015. Photo: Supplied.

A Socceroos World Cup qualifier along with Matildas and Young Matildas international matches have been scheduled to play in the nation’s capital in the coming years as part of the ACT Government’s funding to build a home for Capital Football in the ACT.

Capital Football’s $24.5 million, 28-hectare Home of Football, which will feature six to eight outdoor football fields and two international standard futsal courts, will be built in the new Gungahlin suburb of Throsby by 2021.

As part of the Government’s deal with Capital Football and Football Federation Australia, Canberra fans will also see three elite international football matches in the next 18 months.

The Socceroos will host a World Cup round two qualification match in Canberra as part of the qualification process for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, four years after they beat Asian minows Kyrgyzstan 3-0 in the 2018 World Cup qualifier at GIO Stadium in front of 19,412 fans.

Junior Matilda Emma Ilijoski, Canberra United Academy’s Bella Barac and Canberra United’s Laura Hughes at the announcement. Photo: George Tsotsos.

On the eve of the Matildas beginning their 2019 World Cup campaign against Italy on Sunday night (9 June), the darlings of Australian football will also play an international match in the ACT, in either an international friendly match or Cup of Nation’s fixture.

This will end Canberra’s drought of hosting international football fixtures as the Matildas haven’t played in the capital since beating New Zealand at the AIS track in 2013.

The exact date for the matches have not been confirmed but ACT Sports Minister Yvette Berry said the football base, which will be built on the corner of Gecko Way and Bettong Avenue, will make Canberra attractive for more international fixtures in the future.

ACT Sports Minister Yvette Berry said the announcement was a win for community sport. Photo: George Tsotsos.

“We hope to get arrangements and agreements in place with the FFA to host more international matches but we have three matches that we have agreed with the FFA to bring to the ACT as part of this whole agreement,” Ms Berry said.

“The timeframe is not up to us because the fixtures are arranged out of our control but we don’t need to cross fingers.

“We have such a high participation sport in the ACT and particularly with the success of the Matildas and Canberra United over the years for women, we want to make sure there is every opportunity for young women in the ACT to be part of the whole excitement around bringing elite football to the ACT.”

Laura Hughes, Phil Brown, Yvette Berry, Bella Barac and Emma Ilijoski all smiles. Photo: George Tsotsos.

Photo: Supplied by Capital Football.

Capital Football believes the new facility will be able to host any of the national teams’ training camps, which Football Federation Australia chief David Gallop said could also be a future step for football in the capital.

“This new facility will not only benefit the many thousands of football participants in the ACT, but it also has great significance at a national level and will provide a state-of-the-art training base for our national teams, including the Westfield Matildas and the Caltex Socceroos,” he said.

“It’s a real boost for football fans in the ACT who’ll be able to witness their heroes first-hand, hopefully inspiring the next generation of Socceroos and Matildas.”

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