Heartbroken Matildas look to Olympics

As the Matildas look towards the Olympics, FFA say they're aware of what needs to be done to improve the W-League and keep the Matildas competitive.

CHLOE LOGARZO of Sydney FC has a shot at goal during the W-League match between Sydney FC and Melbourne City at in Wollongong, Australia.
CHLOE LOGARZO of Sydney FC has a shot at goal during the W-League match between Sydney FC and Melbourne City at in Wollongong, Australia. Picture: Mark Evans/Getty Images

The Matildas camp disbanded within hours of their shattering World Cup loss on Sunday (AEST), but vowed to reunite and make good on their promise at next year's Olympic Games.

Australia's penalty shootout defeat in Nice to Norway meant the team didn't reach the last eight for the first time since 2003.

Given the Matildas were top-seeded and carried the weight of expectation, the team's exit hit many hard.

Chloe Logarzo cried as she spoke on the way out of the ground. Others couldn't bring them to be interviewed.

"This is the best team we've had to win the competition. It's so hard, going out the way we did and especially with the belief we had," she said.

There was precious little time for the team to coalesce in Nice.

The team left the stadium well after midnight, with early morning flights taking many home or back to their clubs.

Others chose to stay in France.

Steph Catley, Lydia Williams, Amy Harrison and Chloe Logarzo had a picnic in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.

Alanna Kennedy, Katrina Gorry and Mackenzie Arnold strolled Nice's old town while they took in their disappointment.

Caitlin Foord made clear the team's next priority will arrive in July 2020.

"Olympics. We've got that to look forward to. This team is very special and we're going to do something special. Right now wasn't our time," she said.

"There's belief within this team.

"I think we played some good football and we walked away playing our football so there's a lot of positives."

For the team's off-field leaders, there is an acknowledgement the domestic completion must grow if Australia is to keep up with European leagues and teams.

As reported earlier by AAP, Australian and American league bosses are meeting in the next fortnight to try and thrash out a deal on ways the two competitions could dovetail to mutual benefit.

FFA chief executive David Gallop said he was hopeful the talks might bear fruit.

"Clearly the standard of competition and the investment being made in women's football by many countries as well as big European clubs means Australian football must continue to provide good pathways and opportunities," he said.

"The inter-relationship with the American league has been an important part of the Australian game.

"Keeping the W-League growing and creating a longer season is also an important goal."

The need to keep improving the W-League is also set against the backdrop of independence talks with the A-League.

Gallop said he was cognisant of the need to keep investment in the women's game high; both at national and club levels.

"As we look towards the separation of the A-League, clearly there needs to be recognition that investment will need to be made in our W-League clubs," he said.

"I expect the current owners will fully recognise the importance of the W-League in growing their overall club business.

"There are clear examples of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts when you put A-League and W-League parts of the club business together."


AAP