PREVIEW: Australia v Ireland – FIFA Women’s World Cup Team News, Predicted Lineups and Where to Watch

As co-hosts of the tournament, Australia will kick off their 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign on Thursday against Ireland at Stadium Australia. The fixture was originally scheduled to take place at the Sydney Football Stadium, but has been moved across the city to the largest stadium in the competition – with FIFA choosing the 82,000-seater stadium to accommodate the high demand for tickets.

Such a stadium is a fitting curtain-raiser for the competition in Australia as the Matildas look to overcome the Irish on Matchday 1. Australia come into this game as clear favourites ,with a successful Cup of Nations campaign earlier this year and a dominant display against the current European Champions, England, in April under their belts. The Australians know that continuing this form with yet another win would provide them with the perfect platform to avoid a quarterfinal exit – a fate that has occurred thrice in the Women’s World Cup.

The Australians have the world-class Sam Kerr up front – a talent that will frighten any opposition, yet Tony Gustavsson has sought to move away from their prior approach of relying solely upon Kerr and instead utilise the strengths of the whole squad. This approach adopted by Gustavsson has many looking at the Australians as potential World Cup champions.

However, the Aussies must be wary, as the Irish will look to provide a major shock on their maiden World Cup appearance. The Girls in Green understand that their task to progress in the tournament will be difficult and will require a Herculean effort as they face the co-hosts, the reigning Olympic Champions, and Africa’s most successful team in an incredibly tough group. However, Vera Pauw has built an Irish side that does not fear anybody – embracing challenges through their defensive solidity combined with a sprinkling of attacking magic through a handful of world-class talents.

Both sides have faced the French as preparation for the tournament; the Australians secured a hard-fought win while the Irish suffered defeat despite a determined effort. Ireland will seek a better result against the Matildas on July 20, while Australia will hope that they achieve a similar result – but with a more controlling performance.

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Team News

Australia’s squad looks fairly healthy and raring to go as they look to make a statement against Ireland, with the only concern being Tameka Yallop. Yallop was last seen with an icepack around her knee following a hyperextension while making a challenge. The Matildas will hope that the injury was just a ‘knock’ and that Yallop will be in contention to play against Ireland. Gustavsson was calm about the incident, which will help ease fans concerns about the severity of the injury.

Ireland have had a difficult couple of weeks in the build-up to the fixture against Australia. Pauw has had a stressful period, having to address a negative article published in The Athletic focusing upon her approach to management while also ensuring her players are fit for the opening fixture as she had to abandon a feisty fixture against Colombia following a shin injury to Denise O’Sullivan.

However, it is expected that O’Sullivan will play in this fixture, as she was back training with the squad on Monday. Katie McCabe was also a worry after rolling her ankle against France, but she is expected to start against Australia.

Predicted lineups

Australia: Arnold; Catley, Kennedy, Grant, Carpenter; Vine, Cooney-Cross, Gorry, Raso; Foord, Kerr

Ireland: Brosnan; McCabe, Connolly, Quinn, Fahey, Payne; Sheva, Littlejohn, O’Sullivan, Farrelly; Carusa

Where can I watch?

Kickoff at Stadium Australia is scheduled for 11am UK time on Thursday, 20 July 2023. The coverage will begin at 10:15 on ITV One and ITVX. If you’re unable to watch the match, fear not – we’ll have a detailed match report published within minutes of the final whistle.

FromTheSpot will be bringing you coverage of every game throughout the FIFA Women’s World Cup, including previews and detailed reports. We’ll cover games in the buildup to the tournament too, so you can get a feel for the potential favourites ahead of action getting underway in Australia and New Zealand.

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