Newcastle footballing superstars Emily van Egmond and Gema Simon are bound for France with the Matildas, after head coach Ante Milicic confirmed they would be part of the 23-player squad selected for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
It will be the third time Van Egmond has represented Australia at the global tournament, while Gema Simon will be making her World Cup debut when the competition kicks off for the Matildas in Valenciennes. Simon will wear the No.2 jersey, while Van Egmond will don the green and gold No.10.
— Westfield Matildas (@TheMatildas) May 13, 2019
Simon is expected to play left back for the side in her appearances, while Van Egmond will slot into her forward midfield role that she has played in her past two World Cup campaigns. The Novocastrian star, currently playing with Orlando in America, has earned 85 international caps since burst onto the World Cup stage with a goal against Equatorial Guinea.
It’s experience, like Van Egmond’s 85 caps, that will be keen when Milicic’s 23-player squad begins their hunt for the trophy in France. Australia’s last campaign finished with a 1-nil loss to Japan in the Canadian-based tournament’s quarter finals, and the Matildas helsman is keen to avoid that early of an exit this time around.
Read more recent news
“This is a special group of Australian footballers because, as a unit, they have accumulated a wealth of international experience despite the average age of the team being quite young,” Milicic said.
“Having players that have appeared at multiple FIFA Women’s World Cups in our squad will help to guide the eight players traveling to their first Women’s World Cup, and I believe we will have genuine competition for starting positions across the pitch.”
The FIFA World Cup begins in just under one month’s time. The Matildas will first take to the pitch on the third day of play, when they face Italy at the Stade du Hainaut. They also have tenth ranked Brazil, and Jamaica to contend with in Group C.
Emily’s father Gary van Egmond, who has previous coached the A-League and W-League Jets, is the Matildas assistant coach.
MATILDAS WORLD CUP SQUAD: 1 Lydia Williams, 2 Gema Simon, 3 Aivi Luik, 4 Clare Polkinghorne, 5 Laura Alleyway, 6 Chloe Logarzo, 7 Steph Catley, 8 Elise Kellond-Knight, 9 Caitlin Foord, 10 Emily van Egmond, 11 Lisa De Vanna, 12 Teagan Micah (GK), 13 Tameka Yallop, 14 Alanna Kennedy, 15 Emily Gielnik, 16 Hayley Raso, 17 Mary Fowler, 18 Mackenzie Arnold (GK), 19 Katrina Gorry, 20 Sam Kerr, 21 Ellie Carpenter, 22 Amy Harrison, 23 Teigen Allen.