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Matildas set for France clash ahead of World Cup

Caitlin Foord of the Matildas (right) says the match against France on Friday is key ahead of the World Cup.

Caitlin Foord of the Matildas (right) says the match against France on Friday is key ahead of the World Cup. Photo: AAP

If Caitlin Foord has anything to say about it, the Matildas’ final Women’s World Cup tune-up match against France will be far from a light-hearted friendly.

Friday night’s clash at a packed Marvel Stadium with the world No.5 shapes as the perfect preparation for Australia ahead of next Thursday’s sold-out World Cup opener against Ireland.

France, under new coach Herve Renard, beat Ireland 3-0 last week while the Matildas have not been in action since beating England on April 12.

“We want to enjoy it but it’s our last game before we head into the tournament,” attacker Foord told reporters on Tuesday. 

“We haven’t played together in a while, so it’s an important game for us. 

“We’ve just had a lot of hard weeks now and this is what we play for – the game.”

The Matildas could face France again in the World Cup quarter-finals or semi-finals, depending on how the tournament plays out.

“France are a world-class team, so it’s great prep for us,” Foord said. 

“We could potentially face them (in the tournament) as well. It’s preparing us for games (against teams) that play similarly to France as well. 

“Just for our confidence going into the tournament -– a good result, a good performance will help us leading in. It’s massive, this game.”

Friday’s clash is close to a sellout while the Matildas had a final squad presentation in front of an adoring crowd at Melbourne’s Federation Square on Tuesday afternoon.

Foord, attending her fourth World Cup, planned to embrace the hype.

“To have a game now (in Melbourne), big crowd, prepare us for what we’re going to head into. We’re just excited. It’s been a long time coming,” the Arsenal forward said.

“We’re just taking everything in our stride.

“[My younger teammates are] very mature for their age. When I look at myself at their age, I was very different. 

“We’ve come a long way in that sense and they’re very prepared.”

-AAP

Topics: Matildas
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