Ahead of the quarterfinal showdown with Les Bleues, Matildas winger Cortnee Vine heralded their pre-World Cup friendly against France as the perfect primer.
The hosting Australians squared off with France in their FIFA Women’s World Cup ‘send-off’ match on July 14, six days ahead of the tournament’s kickoff. They triumphed 1-0, thanks to a second-half strike from Mary Fowler. Now, the teams are set to meet again in the quarterfinals this Saturday in Brisbane.
Speaking on Wednesday, Vine shared that the Matildas would study the friendly and all of France’s World Cup matches to gear up.
“We learned a lot from that game and now we have images of us versing them in our formation and what we can improve on,” she noted. “We look inwards before we look outwards and we’ll be going back and analyzing our own game against them and just picking apart what we can expose.”
In the friendly, Vine started on the left midfield. She reprised this position for Australia’s initial World Cup group matches but found herself on the bench after coach Tony Gustavsson transitioned from a 4-4-2 to a 4-2-3-1 setup. Under this new formation, the Matildas have thrived, netting six goals and conceding none in two matches.
Embracing her fresh role as a pivotal substitute, 25-year-old Vine’s speed might be essential on Saturday. The Matildas aim to employ a counterattack strategy against France, mirroring their approach against Canada and Denmark.
“France are world-class,” Vine commented. “They commit forward quite a lot, they have fullbacks that are really aggressive and really good one-on-one dribblers but we can expose them on the counter and that’s just part of our plan.”
The 2023 World Cup, co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, spans from July 20 to August 20. Uniquely, only the top two teams from the eight groups advanced to the round of 16, marking the inaugural Women’s World Cup featuring 32 teams.