Team profile: Australia
Coach: Tom Sermanni is enjoying his second spell in charge of Australia. The Scottish-born coach led the Matildas to the 1995 Women's World Cup before taking club coaching assignments in Japan, the United States and Malaysia. The 56-year-old former Albion Rovers, Blackpool and Torquay midfielder returned in 2004, leading Australia to the World Cup quarter-finals in 2007 and its first Asian Cup title in 2010.
Goalkeepers: Melissa Barbieri, Casey Dumont, Lydia Williams
Defenders: Teigen Allen, Laura Alleway, Kim Carroll, Elise Kellond-Knight, Ellyse Perry, Clare Polkinghorne, Servet Uzunlar
Midfielders: Tameka Butt, Lauren Colthorpe, Heather Garriock, Collette McCallum, Sally Shipard, Emily van Egmond
Forwards: Lisa De Vanna, Caitlin Foord, Samantha Kerr, Leena Khamis, Kyah Simon
1ST ROUND MATCHES (GROUP D)
- June 29 — vs. Brazil in Monchengladbach
- July 3 — vs. Equatorial Guinea in Bochum
- July 6 — vs. Norway in Leverkusen
Strengths: Australia enters the tournament with confidence after winning the Asian championship last year… Tom Sermanni is an experienced coach, having led Australia to the World Cup quarter-finals in 2007… The Aussies will be tough to break down at the back — they gave up just three goals in the World Cup qualifiers.
Weaknesses: Lack of scoring depth and firepower is a big issue - the Aussies scored just seven goals in the qualifiers…. With key striker Kate Gill ruled out with a knee injury, Australia will rely almost exclusively on Lisa De Vanna to supply the goals… FIFA did Australia few favours by putting them in a difficult group that includes traditional powers Brazil and Norway.
Player to watch: Lisa De Vanna — The Australian forward is one of the most dangerous goal-scorers in the women's game today, combining clinical finishing, lightning speed and acceleration, and sublime dribbling ability.
Prospects in Germany: The Matildas face a tough test to emerge from Group D. Their opening game, against Brazil, could hardly be more difficult, though they ran them close in the 2007 quarter-finals. Australia must win its second match against African debutants Equatorial Guinea because the final group game is against Norway — another heavyweight in the women's game. In summary, the Matildas will do well to advance.
- Soccer Confederation: Asian Football Confederation (AFC)
- Current FIFA world ranking: 11
- Team nickname: The Matildas
- Team colours: Gold jerseys/green shorts
ROAD TO THE WOMEN'S WORLD CUP
2011 qualification route: Australia won the 2010 AFC Women's Asian Cup hosted by China. As champions, they automatically qualified for Germany after beating North Korea in the final. Australia won 5-4 on penalties following a 1-1 draw after extra time. Teenager Samantha Kerr scored for Australia, who won the Asian title for the first time.
- Qualification record: 4 wins, 1 loss
- Goals for: 7
- Goals against: 3
- Top goal-scorer in qualifying: Samantha Kerr (2)
- May 19, 2010 — Australia 2, Viet Nam 0
- May 21, 2010 — Australia 3, South Korea 0
- May 23, 2010 — China 1, Australia 0
- May 27, 2010 — Australia 1, Japan 0
- May 30, 2010 — Australia 1**, North Korea 1 (won 5-4 in penalty shootout)
WOMEN'S WORLD CUP HISTORY
After failing to qualify for the inaugural FIFA Women's World Cup in China in 1991, the Matildas made their debut on the international stage at the 1995 event in Sweden. The Aussies failed to advance past the opening round after losses to group opponents Denmark, China and the United States.
At the 1999 tournament in the U.S., Australia grabbed its first-ever point at a Women's World Cup with a draw against Ghana. They still failed to advance past the group stage, however, with 3-1 losses to Sweden and to China.
Australia's draw looked promising at the 2003 event in the U.S. The Matildas failed to take advantage of their weak group, losing to Ghana and Russia before tying China to end their tournament.
The breakthrough came at the 2007 World Cup in China. The Matildas earned their first victory at the tournament with a 4-1 decision of Ghana. They followed that up with ties against Norway and Canada to earn a spot in the knockout stage. They put forth a valiant effort in the quarter-finals, but succumbed to Brazil, 3-2.
- Hosted the Women's World Cup: Never
- Number of previous Women's World Cup appearances: 4
- All-time record: 1 win, 8 losses, 4 ties
- Goals for: 18
- Goals against: 32
- All-time top scorer: Lisa De Vanna (4)
- 1991 — Did not qualify
- 1995 — First round
- 1999 — First round
- 2003 — First round
- 2007 — Quarter-finals