Women’s World Cup hosts Australia get their campaign underway against the Republic of Ireland, who have qualified for the tournament for the very first time, at 11am UK time on Thursday 20 July – and below are a couple of tips for the occasion.
Tameka Yallop is a doubt for Australia after coming off in her country’s final warm-up game with an injury.
Mary Fowler came off the bench to score the winner for the Matildas recently against France and she may start as a result.
Ireland will be hoping that Denise O’Sullivan is fully fit for this clash after she suffered a shin injury in their abandoned friendly against Colombia recently.
The Girls in Green are likely to line up with five at the back and London City Lionesses striker Kyra Carusa leading the line up front.
Australia to win to nil @ 9/10
Expectations will be high for Australia in this year’s World Cup, they are hosts and have also been in rock-solid form recently, winning nine of their last 10 internationals.
There have been some major scalps within that run, including wins over France, England and Spain, some of the well-fancied teams for this year’s tournament.
The Matildas have never gone past the quarter-finals of a World Cup however, so they will need to go into uncharted territory to secure the title on home soil.
They have progressed from the group stages in the last four editions of this tournament however and have a decent opening matchup against the Republic of Ireland, who have qualified for this competition for the first time.
Beating Scotland to do so was a major achievement for the Girls in Green but they have been outclassed in recent friendlies against France and the United States.
Ireland have failed to score in four of their last five games and Australia have six wins to nil in their last seven victories, take them to add to that tally here.
Australia to win 2-0 @ 5/1
While Ireland are unlikely to get the victory in this clash, they are solid defensively and should not be completely outclassed by the hosts.
Expect the visitors to line up with five at the back and look to soak up pressure and hit Australia on the counter attack.
Against this stubborn defence, the Matildas may find things tricky so take them to record a 2-0 win in what should be a competitive affair.