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Matildas coach Gustavsson names squad for Brazil home series

Matildas coach Gustavsson names squad for Brazil home series

FILE PHOTO: Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Soccer Football - Women - Bronze medal match - Australia v United States - Ibaraki Kashima Stadium, Ibaraki, Japan - August 5, 2021. Australia coach Tony Gustavsson reacts REUTERS/Henry Romero

Australia women's coach Tony Gustavsson named a 23-player squad on Saturday with a rich blend of youth and experience for this month's home series against Brazil as the Matildas step up their preparation for the 2023 World Cup.

Australia, ranked 11th in the world, will host world number seven Brazil on Oct. 23 and Oct. 26 at the Western Sydney Stadium as they return to action on home soil for the first time since their Olympic qualifier win over Vietnam in March 2020.

Up to 22,500 spectators will be allowed to attend the games after the New South Wales government permitted 75 per cent crowd capacity under new COVID-19 rules.

Defender Ellie Carpenter, midfielder Emily van Egmond along with forwards Kyah Simon and Caitlin Foord returned to the squad, which will be led by forward Sam Kerr.

Kerr is two goals away from equalling the Australian goal-scoring record of 50 goals, held by former men's striker Tim Cahill.

Forward Bryleeh Henry received her first call-up, while defenders Angela Beard, Charlotte Grant and midfielder Clare Wheeler were all included after making their debut last month.

"I said that going into the September camp, we changed from 'performance mode' from the Olympics to 'preparation mode'," Gustavsson said.

"We can't shy away from tough challenges and tough games. We need to look at this as a long run towards the World Cup in '23.

"We need to be patient... It is all about now who can reach their full potential come '23. It's not just about who is the best, it is about who can become the best, so we are looking at '23 in all the decisions that we are making right now."

Australia and New Zealand will co-host the women's World Cup in 2023.

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru)

Source: Reuters

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