It’s 58 days until the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

There’s no time like the present for international managers to fine-tune their tactics, formations, styles of play, and most importantly, the personnel to execute the game plan.

World No. 1 USA are going all out and have scheduled four international friendlies leading into France.

FFA confirmed yesterday that Australia will have one more friendly fixture before their opener against Italy on June 9.

Ante Milicic’s team will meet the current European Women’s Champions, the Netherlands (who are ranked 8th in the world), in Eindhoven on June 1.

“We believe that this match against the Netherlands will come at a perfect time for our team,” Milicic said.

“We will have completed our ten-day training camp in Turkey where the focus will be on embedding our style of play and tactical principles.

“With this match against a strong opponent coming a week before our first game in France, we will be able to get a good gauge of what aspects of our approach need to be fine-tuned prior to the start of the Women’s World Cup.”

The last time Australia played the Netherlands was in 2017 at the Algarve Cup in Portugal where they defeated Oranjevrouwen 3-2 thanks to an Emily Gielnik double, coupled with Alanna Kennedy’s header from a Steph Catley free-kick.

The Netherlands defeated Chile 7-0 overnight, with Arsenal midfielder Daniëlle van de Donk netting the opener in the 2nd minute and going on to score three more.

Lieke Martens – winner of FIFA’s “The Best” award in 2017 – also got on the scoresheet, while teammate Vivianne Miedema reached a milestone, netting her 100th international goal across all age groups.

The Netherlands have been drawn in Group E, alongside Canada, Cameroon, and New Zealand.

As for New Zealand, the Football Ferns defeated World No. 12 Norway 1-0 in Marbella – their first win against higher-ranked opposition in three years.

England defeated Spain 2-1 in front of 13,856 fans overnight, and are back in action against Denmark on 25 May and New Zealand on 1 June before their first World Cup group game against Scotland on 9 June.

The Lionesses are ranked third in the world and will be one of the favourites in France.

Canada took on Nigeria in a friendly this week and came from behind to defeat the Super Falcons 2-1, with Janine Beckie and Sophie Schmidt on the scoresheet.

Kenneth Heiner-Møller’s team extended their unbeaten streak to six games without a loss.

Brazil, who are drawn in Group C with Australia, were stunned by Scotland in their World Cup warm-up at Pinatar Arena in Spain. Kim Little’s first-half strike helped Shelley Kerr’s team secure an unlikely victory over their highly fancied opposition.

This summer’s showpiece will be Scotland’s first-ever involvement in a Women’s World Cup, and the team will be no doubt take confidence from getting one over the South Americans in a friendly.

Similar to Canada, Scotland are undefeated [in two friendly matches this month].

Rounding out some of the key preparation matches, host nation France gave their fans a taste of what’s to come in June, putting four past Denmark and keeping a clean sheet in front of 15,874 spectators in Strasbourg.

Lyon’s 22-year-old midfielder Delphine Cascarino scored a double, reinforcing her individual strength from open play. Cascarino has also represented France’s U-16, U-17, U-19 and U-20 teams, amassing 56 international caps at youth level.

Lyon teammate and centre back Griedge Mbock Bathy also got on the scoresheet for Les Bleus, as did Valerie Gauvin.

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Louise Taffa
taffa.louise@gmail.com