The Matildas preparations for their hit out with the USWNT have ramped up with the European and NWSL-based players now joining the camp.

The Australian players have been together for a few days training and adjusting to the altitude in Denver, Colorado.

Games against the USWNT are always difficult, with Australia only recording its first ever win over the three-time World Cup winners in July 2017; Tameka Butt scored the only goal in that game at the Tournament of Nations.

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While the players have been rolling out the cliched ‘you need to beat the best to be the best’ in the lead up to not only this match but the World Cup in June, the old adage has more than its fair share of truth.

Since Alen Stajčić’s sacking and Ante Miličić’s appointment, the case can be made that the USWNT will be the most difficult match in the Matildas’ preparation for the sport’s biggest tournament.

On the surface it is huge: both teams are ranked in the top 10 and their last few battles have been tough, tight contests.

But this is the Matildas’ last game before the World Cup squad is announced and it will be only Miličić’s fourth in charge before he has to make arguably the biggest decisions of his managerial career.

For players like Katrina Gorry, this match is a chance to prove that she should be on the plane to France despite form and injury issues of late.

For the likes of Mary Fowler, she could solidify her status as potential World Cup bolter following her slightly tumultuous start to life in the national team.

The composition of the forwards, midfielders, defenders and goalkeepers – players who will add depth and players who will add x-factor – will all get a ridiculously tough test on Friday afternoon Australian time.

The Cup of Nations win has provided fans and players alike with positive results and a sense of security following the bedlam caused by Stajčić’s sacking.

Now, things get even more serious.

Australia’s match against the USWNT kicks off at 12:30pm AEDT on the 5th of April

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Marissa Lordanic
marissa.lordanic@gmail.com