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  • Writer's pictureMatt Olsen

FIFA Women's World Cup 2023: The Australian connections from Group E to H

This FIFA Women's World Cup represents the first time the Australasian region can say it is proudly bringing the world's best talent to its shores for the momentous event.

From the second the decision was made by FIFA in June 2020, much has transpired, particularly within the teams and individuals taking the pitch on Australian shores and calling its cities home, if just for a month.

Front Page Football has curated a list of teams Australian football fans should keep an eye on, given their hidden, sometimes not so discreet, connection to the country's football landscape.

Whether through a stint in their career at an Australian club or through the assistance of hardworking and well-known individuals in the Australian game, FPF looks at the connections in five teams from Group E to H.

Group E: USA

Reigning world champions USA at the She Believes Cup. (USA Today)

It remains a little-known piece of the archives that United States star Megan Rapinoe, set for her swan song at this World Cup, had a short stint with Sydney FC in the early 2010s.

Nothing incredible came from her exploits on the pitch with the Sky Blues. Rapinoe’s connection to the Australian game remains a niche fad more than anything. But those acquainted with her often discuss her impact in such a short time frame.

Also in the squad is wing-back Sofia Huerta, who played a significant role in Sydney FC's success from 2018 to 2020; another reason Sky Blues fans may warm to the reigning champions.

Group F: Brazil

Brazilian talent should largely inspire on Australian shores this month. (Rico Brouwer)

Brazil’s squad, though stacked with talent and buoyed by a healthily high level of domestic football clubs represented in it, is not fancied to top Group F. But they also have fascinating connections to key clubs and personnel in, or linked to, Australia.

Defensive veteran Mônica had a loan stint with Adelaide United during the 2016/17 W-League season, amassing nine starts and scoring once.

In the midfield is OL Reign’s Angelina. The 23-year-old is finding her feet at the OL Groupe-owned Seattle-based outfit. She receives mentorship from teammate and former Welsh W-League import Jess Fishlock, who played for Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City.

Group G: Italy

A European football giant, Italy hope to bring their women's game to greater heights down under. (VCG Images)

The Italian Job spearheaded by Australian Joe Montemurro at Juventus makes this inclusion reasonably straightforward.

Italy can thank the Australian manager's influence on its squad, with seven members currently working under Montemurro at Juve. It would be no surprise for Sofia Cantore, Barbara Bonansea, Cristiana Girelli, Lisa Boattin, Arianna Caruso, Martina Lenzini, and Cecilia Salvai to feel an air of familiarity should they spend time in Australia.

With their fixtures in New Zealand during the group stage, shocking everyone and winning Group G would put Italy’s Round of 16 fixture at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium. That's the home city of, you guessed it, Joe Montemurro.

Group H: Morocco

Morocco will face Colombia, Germany, and South Korea in Group H. (FIFA)

Morocco is an enigma for many at this World Cup; their status in Group H remains one of the more challenging parts to evaluate within the tournament's bracket.

However, what is not up for debate is the quality possessed by their star player Rosella Ayane.

The Tottenham forward is set to lead a trailblazing group of women who will represent the first Arab nation to play at a Women’s World Cup. But she will also play in the home country of teammate Kyah Simon and former teammate Alanna Kennedy as the Lionesses of Atlas face their biggest challenge yet.



Group H: South Korea

Australian coach Matt Ross is South Korea's assistant. (Keepup)

Elsewhere in Group H, Asian heavyweights South Korea will be buoyed by talent across the pitch, with a squad mostly boasting local players. The Taegeuk Ladies have only five members who play football outside of South Korea, each in Europe.

However, the connection to Australia comes through English manager Colin Bell’s assistant Matt Ross being an Australian.

Ross, a Newcastle native, broke through as a manager within the reserve system of the then-named 1. FFC Frankfurt, where he briefly coached experienced Matildas midfielder Emily van Egmond. Senior jobs in Germany and Sweden followed before Ross joined former Huddersfield Town assistant Bell on the South Korean coaching staff.


Click here to read part one of this miniseries, where we looked at the Australian connections from Group A to D!


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