Never Say Die De Vanna hunting Cup glory

Lisa De Vanna stands on the brink of Australian footballing immortality in France as she saddles up for a fourth Women's World Cup.

lisa de vanna of australia in action during the women39s algarve cup tournament match between australia and china at estadio municipal de albufeira in albufeira portugal
LISA DE VANNA of Australia in action during the Women's Algarve Cup Tournament match between Australia and China at Estadio Municipal de Albufeira in Albufeira, Portugal. Picture: Octavio Passos/Getty Images

The mantra of the Matildas has long been "Never Say Die".

It's muttered in the change rooms, on the pitch. It's written on the inside of their shirts.

And no one personifies that mantra more than Lisa De Vanna.

This month, the 34-year-old will become just the fourth Australian after Cheryl Salisbury, Melissa Barbieri and Tim Cahill to play at a fourth World Cup.

She could leave France with a historic trifecta of records to cement her place at the top of the Australian game.

With three more appearances, she'll tie Salisbury - her mentor - as the most capped Australian footballer.

With three more goals, she'll equal Cahill's half-century of goals as Australia's highest scoring international.

And if she can find the net at all, De Vanna will become the first Australian to score at four World Cups.

"That'd be nice," she says, smiling as if to consider those moments.

"But I really just want to actually do something with the Matildas.

"Whether it's playing, not playing, supporting teammates, or whatever it is. I'm happy with that."

De Vanna has been a crucial part of Australia's last three tournaments; which have each produced runs to the last eight.

On debut in 2007, she scored four times but her most telling contribution was an injury-time assist for Salisbury that sent the Matildas into their first World Cup quarter-final.

In 2011, she scored a crunch winner over Equatorial Guinea to help Australia out of their group once more.

And in 2015 she played through the pain of an ankle injury, scoring against world champions USA.

With a few miles in her legs, De Vanna is realistic about her ability to change a contest at her fourth tournament.

Equally, she doesn't want to put a limit on what's possible.

"I don't think I can run out games but it's up to the coach. He might need me to do it. Or he think I can," she said.

"I wouldn't be here if I didn't give something to the team.

"The time that I do get on or start, I'm going to make the most of it."

De Vanna's confidence is in contrast to her W-League form.

The Sydney FC striker went goalless in an injury-plagued campaign, leaving her vulnerable for the chop when new coach Ante Milicic arrived.

Milicic picked De Vanna for the Cup of Nations, and she hasn't looked back with goals against South Korea and the United States to ensure she'd be heading to this month's World Cup in France.

"I knew once I got fit, once I got my body right and my mind right I had a good chance," she said.

"I knew and he knew that the player I was (during the W-League season) is not what I'm capable of.

"To start in the US was massive for me.

"It was a massive mindset boost for me to play against the world's No.1 side and to score was massive.

"I've now done the hard work. I've ticked all the boxes."

Aside from breaking a few almighty records, De Vanna now has just two more boxes to tick.

"If I can make it to the Olympic Games next year, that will be it for me," she said.

"So hopefully a medal at the World Cup and a medal at the Olympic Games. That'd be nice."


AAP