Australia v Scotland Friendly: All the details

by Ben Gilby (10/3/23)

Above: Australia have announced a second international in London next month. Photo: Kris Goman for Impetus.

Australia have added a second match to April’s FIFA Women’s International Window against Scotland on Good Friday, 7th April at Cherry Red Records Stadium – the home of AFC Wimbledon. 

The Matildas will host the Scots in a second London ‘home’ encounter in six months with the match kicking off at 1.15pm (local) / 10.15pm (AEST). 

Four days later Australia will complete the European-based window with a clash against reingning European champions at Brentford, in the city’s west.

Matildas’ Head Coach Tony Gustavsson said: “For preparation purposes, it was important to have secured a team with the quality and character of Scotland.”

“While they narrowly missed out on qualification for the World Cup, Scotland are a well organised and physical team with some world-class individual players, including Caroline Weir and Erin Cuthbert, whom our players know what they are capable of from playing with them in clubland.” 

Australia come into these London matches on a seven-match winning streak and are looking to continue building during the final phase ahead of the World Cup 2023.

Gustavsson highlighted how the matches in this window will provide major tests, but with the advantage of having his squad together for a longer period than usual with the vast majority of the players based close by.

“The recent Cup of Nations tournament was another positive step forward with the team ticking off many objectives, but it also highlighted areas that we need to continue improving.

“We are looking forward to having another match in a city that is for many of our players a home away from home. The match against South Africa last October showed the local support the team has in London, and we are looking forward to seeing many of those proud Australian fans again before the FIFA Women’s World Cup.”

Battle of the Sam Kerrs:

Above: Scotland’s Sam Kerr. Photo: Rangers FC.

Whilst Australia’s Sam Kerr needs no introduction, Scotland are also likely to field a midfielder with the exact same name who is in arguably the form of her life.

The ‘Scottish Sam’ is a 23-year-old who plays for Rangers in the top flight (SWPL) of Scottish women’s football. Having represented her country at U16, U17, and U19 level, this Kerr has eight senior caps to her name and was voted into the SWPL team of the season last year after helping her team win their first-ever league championship.

The Rangers midfielder has a place in history as the first goalscorer for the club in a match played at the men’s team’s famous 50,817-capacity Ibrox Stadium.

Kerr joined Rangers in 2021 from Glasgow City, Scotland’s historically most successful side. City are a female-only club with no affiliations to the pro game and continue to rack up major trophies to this day at the top level. The Falkirk-born player represented Glasgow City in several Champions League campaigns, including a sensational run to the Quarter-Finals in 2021 which saw their fairytale ended by a VfL Wolfsburg side containing Pernille Harder among other stars.

Scotland’s Sam Kerr will provide a major link-up role with the dangerous Erin Cuthbert who also just happens to be Australia’s Sam Kerr’s best buddy at Chelsea.

Having one Sam Kerr on the pitch is thrilling enough. On Good Friday there will be two. And it will be quite a battle.

The Venue:

Above: AFC Wimbledon’s Plough Lane Stadium – venue for the Matildas game with Scotland on Good Friday. Photo: Ben Gilby.

AFC Wimbledon are a historic club in England, and their new home stadium at Plough Lane which will host the match, opened during the COVID pandemic, is one of the best of its size in the country.

With a capacity of just over 9,000 seats, the stadium was largely paid for by the club’s fans. Indeed the club was formed by fans 20 years ago, and has been run by them ever since.

Wimbledon FC were formed in 1889 and remained outside the professional ranks of the game in England until 1977. They were famous for some sensational FA Cup runs when, as a non-professional side, defeated top tier side Burnley away, and then drew with reigning top-tier champions Leeds United way from home – a sensational achievement which also included a saved penalty.

Wimbledon were elected into the professional leagues as a result, and within eight years reached the top tier and in 1988 won the FA Cup at Wembley as they spent 14 years in the top flight of English football.

All of this was achieved despite the club being watched by minuscule crowds, and after the club was sold in 2002, the new owners gained permission from the game’s governing body to move the club 90km north to Milton Keynes and change its name to Milton Keynes Dons. The move remains hugely unpopular amongst the wider English football following to this day.

Above: A Manchester City side containing Australia’s Alanna Kennedy and Hayley Raso defeated Sam Kerr’s Chelsea at Plough Lane last season. Photo: Manchester City FC.

Wimbledon supporters formed their own club, AFC Wimbledon and they were placed in the ninth tier of the game. They had no ground and no players. But within weeks gained a ground share, attracted a big squad and regularly attracted crowds of 3,000 in a division where other clubs may not have got more than 30 people watching. AFC Wimbledon have now been recognised as the rightful ‘owners’ of Wimbledon’s honours, rather than the Milton Keynes club.

The Cinderella story continued as AFC Wimbledon earned a total of six promotions in 14 years to make the third tier of English football. In 2021, they finally opened their own stadium – largely paid for by the fans who still own and run the club – and located just a few metres from their historic old ground in Plough Lane.

The club, now in the fourth tier of English football, attract more fans for home games now than they did in their top-flight days, with 8,000+ coming through the turnstiles. It also hosts the bulk of the club’s women’s team matches with crowds of just under 1,000 regularly watching their tier four side.

The Cherry Red Records Stadium, known to all the fans as ‘Plough Lane’ is a fantastic modern facility, with some of the best food and drink options in the English game. It also has its own pub – and the Matildas fans will be more than welcome.

Plough Lane as a venue will also be familiar to several of the Matildas as it hosted the 2021/22 Conti Cup Final which saw Sam Kerr’s Chelsea face a Manchester City side that included Hayley Raso and Alanna Kennedy.

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