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FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Matildas, Australia vs Ireland live score, updates, start time, how to watch, video

After years of anticipation, the Matildas open their World Cup campaign in Sydney on Thursday night (8pm AEST) against the Republic of Ireland.

Almost 80,000 fans are set to flood into Stadium Australia, breaking the record for a stand-alone women’s football match in Australia, set just last week when 50,629 Melburnians witnessed the Matildas beat world no. 5 France in their final warm-up match.

That was a ninth win in the last 10 matches for Australia, who are carrying the hopes of a nation as they look to progress beyond the quarter-finals for the first time in history – and perhaps even go all the way.

MATCH CENTRE: Teams, live stats, and more

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Sam Kerr said yesterday the team was confident they wouldn’t be overwhelmed by the weight of expectations – or the memories of a disappointing early exit in 2019.

“As a team it’s going to go up and down, we have to just live in the moment,” she said. “We spoke about it briefly today – it’s OK to feel nervous, it’s OK to get overawed by the crowd. That’s life, that’s football.”

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World no. 10 Australia, co-hosting the tournament with New Zealand, will kick off their campaign against the world’s 22nd-ranked side.

Ireland, ‘The Girls in Green’, are one of a bunch of teams competing in their first World Cup this tournament, after beating Scotland in a playoff.

They may arrive with lower expectations than the Australians, but with a number of players regularly impressing at top clubs – particularly captain Katie McCabe of Arsenal – they are confident of an upset victory.

However, Ireland has struggled for form since qualifying for the World Cup, winning just twice in their last six matches.

27-year-old McCabe, who has captained the side for six years already, says her team are ready to embrace the underdog moniker.

“As a small nation, you carry that title I guess,” McCabe said. “We know we are debutants, but we know what we want to do. We don’t want to just be happy to be here. We want to compete, and we want to give Australia, Canada and Nigeria the hardest games possible.

“It’s going to be exciting. We know what Australia have. They have got quality all over the park. But we also know what we can do.”

But as Kerr said yesterday, “we have a lot of respect for Ireland … [but] it’s about us tomorrow.”

The two teams have been placed in Group B, along with Nigeria and Tokyo Olympics gold medallists Canada, both of which the Australians will also face in the group stage this fortnight. The top two teams progress to the knockouts.

The match, which kicks off at 8pm AEST, will be shown on Channel 7. It follows the opening match of the tournament, when New Zealand host Norway in Auckland (5pm AEST).

Follow all the build-up and the live action in our blog below!

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TEAM NEWS

Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson has depth all over the park and plenty of selection headaches.

Captain Sam Kerr is unsurprisingly set to start, but there are tough decisions elsewhere!

Young playmaker Mary Fowler started off the bench against France but played brilliantly and scored the winner – but Kyra Cooney-Cross and Katrina Gorry have forged a strong connection in the heart of the pitch that Gustavsson might be hesitant to alter.

Another option is to shift Cooney-Cross to the wing – as she did in the second half against France once Fowler was brought onto the pitch.

At the back, all four centre-backs were given minutes against France, but veteran Alanna Kennedy and youngster Clare Hunt appear likely to reprise their starting combination in the opener.

And while fullbacks Ellie Carpenter and Steph Catley are both fully fit and started against France, there’s a chance that versatile Charli Grant – who surged into contention in the last year or two when the first-choice fullbacks were sidelined – could be given the nod. She battled back from illness in the last week but trained fully on Wednesday.

Tameka Yallop and Kyah Simon are battling minor injuries and are unlikely to start.

Fowler nets one for the Tillies! | 00:32

SQUADS

Australia

Goalkeepers: Mackenzie Arnold (West Ham), Teagan Micah (Liverpool), Lydia Williams (Brighton and Hove Albion)

Defenders: Ellie Carpenter (Lyon), Steph Catley (Arsenal), Charlotte Grant (Vittsjo GIK), Clare Hunt (Western Sydney Wanderers), Alanna Kennedy (Manchester City), Aivi Luik (BK Hacken), Courtney Nevin (Leicester City), Clare Polkinghorne (Vittsjo GIK)

Midfielders: Alex Chidiac (Racing Louisville), Kyra Cooney-Cross (Hammarby IF), Katrina Gorry (Vittsjo GIK), Emily van Egmond (San Diego Wave), Clare Wheeler (Everton), Tameka Yallop (SK Brann)

Forwards: Caitlin Foord (Arsenal), Mary Fowler (Manchester City), Sam Kerr (Chelsea), Hayley Raso (Real Madrid), Kyah Simon (unattached), Cortnee Vine (Sydney FC)

Coach: Tony Gustavsson

Republic of Ireland

Goalkeepers: Courtney Brosnan (Everton), Grace Moloney (Reading), Megan Walsh (Brighton)

Defenders: Aine O’Gorman (Shamrock Rovers), Louise Quinn (Birmingham), Niamh Fahey (Liverpool), Diane Caldwell (Reading), Claire O’Riordan (Celtic), Chloe Mustaki (Bristol City), Heather Payne (Florida State Seminoles), Isibeal Atkinson (West Ham United)

Midfielders: Katie McCabe (Arsenal), Denise O’Sullivan (North Carolina Courage), Megan Connolly (Brighton), Ruesha Littlejohn (Aston Villa), Ciara Grant (Hearts), Lily Agg (London City Lionesses), Sinead Farrelly (NY/NJ Gotham), Lucy Quinn (Birmingham City)

Forwards: Abbie Larkin (Shamrock Rovers), Kyra Carusa (London City Lionesses), Amber Barrett (Potsdam Turbine), Marissa Sheva (Washington Spirit)

Reserve players: Sophie Whitehouse (Lewes), Harriet Scott (Birmingham City), Jamie Finn (Birmingham City)

Coach: Vera Pauw

LIVE BLOG

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