Matildas forward Caitlin Foord has urged Australians to rally around the team for the upcoming third place match in the FIFA World Cup after the side’s loss to England.
Despite the players’ best efforts and a magical 63rd-minute goal from captain Sam Kerr, the Australians were unable to fend off three goals from the Lionesses, crushing the hopes of a World Cup win on home soil.
The star footballer took to Instagram less than 12 hours after the heartbreaking loss to rally Australians around the team ahead of their final match against Sweden on Saturday night.
“We gave it everything last night!” Foord said on Instagram.
“We pick ourselves up and go again Saturday, we need you with us Australia.”
Despite the loss, the Matildas have made it further than any Australian side in a World Cup, male or female.
That unprecedented result has driven players and coaches to demand increased financial backing to ensure the momentum behind the team doesn’t go to waste.
“They and the generations before them have worked hard to be in this moment,” coach Tony Gustavsson said of his players after Wednesday’s heartbreaking defeat.
“It’s a bit emotional to sit here and talk about that when you lose a semi-final because I hate to lose, but football is bigger than 90 minutes.
“We’re very disappointed in the loss, but hopefully we won something else. We won the hearts and the passion for this game in this country.
“This is not the end of something; this needs to be the start of something, and with that comes money as well.”
Fans have joined in on demanding more from the federal government in funding women’s football, calling out a tribute to the Matildas from Prime Minister Anthony Albanese as hypocritical.
“Every single Matilda has brought us joy throughout this @FIFAWWC. And I have no doubt that the next generation of Matildas were watching. We’ll all be cheering for you on Saturday (in the play off for third),” he wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
Heartbroken fans warned the Prime Minister that they were prepared to hold him to account.
“Fund them! Invest in women’s sport and help improve the opportunities for the generation who’ve been inspired by this Matildas team and all they’ve achieved at this world cup,” one wrote on X.
“Fund the game bro, we’ve got the receipts of you and the other politicians going ham over how well our Matildas have gone,” another fan said.