There are shades of the Matildas Asian Cup winning side of 2010 in Tony Gustavsson’s latest squad.
A healthy mix of experienced campaigners and rising stars make up the 25 players who will take on Sweden and Denmark.
That victorious team a decade ago contained promising teenagers like Sam Kerr, Kyah Simon and Elise Kellond-Knight.
Their equivalents in this recent squad are a combination of W-League young guns and a couple of European based rising stars.
Grant has been a regular at Adelaide United since joining in 2018. In the most recent season, the 19-year-old took her game to another level. She has since joined Rosengård in Sweden.
She demonstrated explosive pace, determined defending and a willingness to impose herself on games. Early in the season, her performance against Perth Glory earned deserved comparisons with Ellie Carpenter.
The Matildas weaknesses at fullback were mercilessly exposed by Germany and The Netherlands. Eight goals came from moves down the flank that Carpenter usually patrols. In her absence, Lieke Martens in particular caused havoc.
Grant may not be up to that just level yet, but she is a specialist full back. She can play on either flank and can defend and support attacks.
Gustavsson will be eager to find fit understudies to Carpenter and Grant could be an answer.
Courney Nevin is another young defender that appears more experienced than her 19 years should allow.
A regular for the past two season as Western Sydney Wanderers, Nevin was rewarded for her consistency with a call up to the Talent ID camp in April.
Like Grant, she provides cover in a defense that suddenly looks stacked with options. There is no question mark over her ability but her inclusion does stand out when the experienced Emma Checker was overlooked.
Nevin has been included in both talent ID camps and has progressed through the pathway to the top as a regular at youth levels for the national team.
The step up to becoming a senior Matilda might seem surprising, but she’s clearly been on the radar for some time and will be ready to show why.
The Montpellier striker dubbed the next big thing was a mixed bag against Germany and The Netherlands.
She was Australia’s most promising attacker over both games. Confident on the ball, comfortable running at defenses and aware enough to play clever forward passes.
She was also unfortunately responsible for a costly turnover that resulted in a goal.
This mixed bag was almost certainly due to being played out of position. In the absence of Chloe Logarzo and Tameka Yallop, the 18-year-old was played in midfield instead of the role she occupies for her club and the Young Matildas.
Her record of 17 goals in 10 appearances at youth level for Australia shows that she is most comfortable close to goal. She has quick feet, impressive acceleration and can finish off either foot.
With the return of more experienced midfielders, hopefully Fowler can get a chance to play where she can do the most damage to the opposition.
In the immediate aftermath of Melbourne Victory’s dramatic Grand Final and minutes after scoring a spectacular winner, Kyra Cooney-Cross was asked what was next. Her answer was simple and bold, “Europe, The Matildas” she said.
After being named in this squad she is about to achieve one of those ambitions.
Cooney-Cross is in the form of her career. She was decisive and dominant for the W-League champions. Like Fowler she has the ability to dribble through the middle of the pitch and can shoot with her left or right.
She trained with the senior squad prior to the 2019 World Cup but was not included in the final squad.
After a season in which she took her game to another level her inclusion now is no surprise.
Cooney-Cross is deadly from set pieces, physical without the ball and inventive with it.
She possesses a wide passing range and can shoot from distance. She might not be ready for the Matildas to depend on her in the way Victory did but that might be beneficial.
With defenses occupied by the well-known threats of Kerr and Foord, Kyra Cooney-Cross might get the opportunity to do Denmark or Sweden what she did to Sydney FC.
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