New Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson faces a baptism of fire after the Australian women’s soccer team secured a blockbuster clash against the world’s No.2 side Germany next month.
Gustavsson was named head coach in September, but the Matildas haven’t been able to see action since securing their Tokyo Olympics berth with a 2-1 win over Vietnam last March.
That will change on April 11 when the Matildas take on the might of Germany in Wiesbaden.
The match will serve as an important preparation for the Matildas ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, which are due to start in July.
The Matildas are currently ranked seventh in the world.
“Firstly, I am delighted to finally have the opportunity to bring the players and staff together and for us to start our journey as a team,” Gustavsson said.
“I am pleased to secure a match against a nation of the calibre of Germany for our first outing, as we continue critical preparations ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
“It is important for our development as a team that we take on quality opponents often to measure our progress and build strong foundations for the next three years.
“Consistent matches against highly-ranked teams are key to our ability to reach our full potential, and I am looking forward to this first challenge.”
W-League premiership-winning coach Melissa Andreatta has been named as Gustavsson’s assistant, while Marty Judge has been appointed senior technical analyst, and Janet Drakos as national female wellbeing manager.
The clash against Germany will be the first time the two nations have met since fighting out a 2-2 draw at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The match will be played with spectators absent, and the Matildas will operate under strict protocols as established by Football Australia’s National Teams Unit.
Following these established protocols, informed medical advice and Football Australia’s safety-first framework, Australian-based players will not be eligible for squad selection for the April FIFA window.
Football Australia is aiming to secure a second match in Europe during the April window.
Football Australia has also secured an agreement to host Germany in the lead up to the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023.