SA’s Matilda Alex Chidiac backs plans for Australia to host 2023 Women’s World Cup

VICTORY: Alex Chidiac was SA’s sole player in the Matilda’s
soccer squad which won the Tournament of Nations. Picture:
AAPImage/Emma Brasier

THE Matildas’ stunning victory at the Tournament of
Nations has raised hopes of Australia one day winning the
Women’s World Cup on home soil.

That is the view of teenage playmaker Alex Chidiac, the sole SA
representative in the national squad which returned home on
Sunday after taking out the US-based event.

Chidiac said the history-making triumph over the host nation,
as well as commanding victories against Japan and Brazil, had
cemented the Matildas’ reputation as a genuine international
power.

The Adelaide City midfielder said plans for an Australian bid
to host the 2023 women’s World Cup provided further incentive
for the nation’s leading female players.

“That’s what every footballer dreams of really,” Chidiac, 18,
said.

“Being able to play in a World Cup in your own country is the
ultimate.

“The Matildas squad is still quite young … so if we
(Australia) did get it in 2023, I think we would definitely
have a great shot at taking out the whole tournament.

“It’s exciting to think that it’s a possibility.”

The Federal Government in June pledged an initial $1 million to
back Football Federation Australia’s bid to hold the World Cup.

Chidiac, the third youngest player in the Matildas’ squad, said
the US tournament win had boosted public support to bring the
showpiece 24-team event down under.

“It was a massive statement for women’s football in Australia,”
the former Adelaide United W-League player said.

“We all knew how good the Matildas were and how good they could
be, but this tournament just brought everything together.

Alex Chidiac in action for Adelaide City earlier this season. Picture: Adam Butler

Alex Chidiac in action for
Adelaide City earlier this season. Picture: Adam
Butler
Source:Supplied

“Seeing the backing of the media back home and social media
blowing up about everything … this team is just getting
bigger and better.”

Chidiac was a late substitute in Australia’s 4-2 win over Japan
in San Diego as her teammates, led by the brilliant Sam Kerr,
tore the best defences in the women’s game to shreds.

She realised the enormity of the tournament three days earlier
when she was pitch-side for opening game between Japan and
Brazil.

“It didn’t really hit me until I was walking into the stadium
for the first game, how massive it was with all the fans there
already.

“(Brazilian superstar) Marta was playing and that was someone
I’ve idolised since I was younger so it was crazy to see all
these players I look up to.

“To be on the same field as them, I’m still trying to get used
to it.”

The speedster remained uncontracted ahead of the coming
W-League season as she considered her options at club level.

She hoped to retain her national team place for next month’s
friendlies against Brazil in Sydney and Newcastle, while
preparing for the under-19 Asian Championships with the Young
Matildas.

“Every time I go away with these Matildas girls, I learn more
and grow more,” said Chidiac, who won her fourth senior cap in
the US.

“Obviously I would have loved to get more minutes (on the
field), but the team is in such good form I understand
completely.

“Hopefully in the next couple of years I’ll be on the same
playing field as them (overseas-based teammates) and then that
should translate to more game time.”

Originally published as
Matildas’ success boosts World Cup bid

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