Last week, Australia’s Matildas played a pair of international friendlies against Brazil on home soil in Sydney. For Caitlin Foord, it was her first time back in Australia since March 2020.
For her compatriots Steph Catley and Lydia Williams, it was their first time since August 2020. Due to strict border controls in Australia, the Matildas had not played a home match since a 5-0 victory over Vietnam in Newcastle on March 6th, 2020.
Arseblog News asked Arsenal coach Jonas Eidevall how important it was for the players to be able to return home for the first time in such a long time.
“It was very nice for them to be able to visit their country again, I think it was still in some weird circumstances because you could only travel to the game from certain regions in Australia and there was no contact between players and fans even if families were in the stands.
“It was still a nice step for them in the right direction even if it felt weird for players that couldn’t have their families there even though they were in the country or not being able to have close contact with family members.”
19 months in the making 🥰 pic.twitter.com/N4M8cXuIKg
— 🌻🍊 (@amy6amy) October 26, 2021
Williams, Catley and Foord all flew back on Tuesday evening UK time for the grueling flight from Sydney, arriving on Wednesday. Eidevall confirmed that the players had had their training plans adjusted as a result but all will be available for Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final against Brighton..
“Regarding the weekend, yes they are available. Of course, we have made some adjustments in their loading prior to the game to adjust for the fact that they had such long travel compared to our other players. But they are all available to play on Sunday.”