On Tuesday, 11 April the Matildas will face the Lionesses at Brentford for an Alzheimer’s Society International before the Socceroos play the Three Lions at Wembley Stadium on Friday, 13 October. Australia’s senior national women’s football team has not played against the reigning Women’s EURO Champion since October 2018 where the match ended in a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage. The last meeting for the men was at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light in May 2016, where England won 2-1. These two much-anticipated fixtures are part of Football Australia's deliberate strategy to support the progression and profile of its national teams on the global stage, the governing body said. “Over the last two years, Football Australia has been dedicated to creating the right environment for national team success," Football Australia CEO James Johnson reiterated. “This means replicating tournament football by playing higher-ranked opponents on a more regular basis to ensure the best preparation and our teams are peaking come tournament time. “For the CommBank Matildas, this has seen us playing against more top 10 ranked nations plus European and South American opponents. We will be replicating that strategy for the Subway Socceroos in the upcoming FIFA World Cup™ cycle,” Johnson said. “Australian football has always enjoyed a strong bond with football in the United Kingdom. “Historically, we had a prominent presence of male players throughout the English Premier League and the English Championship. “This was followed by a very lean period but today, we have seen a resurgence of Australian footballers, both men and women, plying their trade in leagues across the United Kingdom. “Harry Souttar has just signed for Leicester City and Riley McGree is having a standout season with Middlesborough in the English Championship. We also have seen a strong contingent of our Subway Socceroos move to the Scottish Premiership in recent years. "Our Matildas have really led the resurgence of Australian football with eleven players in their current squad playing for clubs in England’s Women’s Super League including Sam Kerr at Chelsea and Caitlin Foord, at Arsenal, two powerhouses of the English game. “Australian football is slowly re-establishing itself in English and European football again which is pleasing to see. The fact we have been able to secure this double fixture against England at a time when they are two of the best teams in world football is a sign of the drawing power of our national teams. "The announcement of these matches today, with news about further fixtures for our CommBank Matildas and Subway Socceroos to come, means that Australian football fans will be able to plan for an entire calendar year of national team football with some bumper fixtures, which of course includes the historic FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ on home soil," concluded Johnson. Australia's match against the world number-four in London continues the Matildas’ build-up for the FIFA World Cup on home soil, a game welcomed by coach Tony Gustavsson. “We are delighted to have secured a high calibre side in the Women’s EURO Champions, England, as part of the final phase of our preparations for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2022,” he said. “We are once again grateful to Football Australia for the continued support in securing this vital match, and also over the last two years which will have seen the team play eight of the top 10 women’s nations in the world as part of the toughest ever build up for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. For the Socceroos, the match in October will be the first time Australia has played England at one of the world’s most iconic stadiums, Wembley Stadium, and an occasion which will also mark the eighth meeting between the two teams. In total, the Socceroos have played the Three Lions on seven occasions. The current head-to-head is skewed towards England, where the Three Lions have won four times, there have been two draws, with Australia claiming the one victory; 20 years ago on 12 February 2003, when the Socceroos defeated England, 3-1, at Upton Park in London. “As an Australian footballer and coach, playing England at Wembley is something all footballers dream of. Not just because of the occasion, but for the opportunity it presents to test ourselves against one of the world’s most revered footballing nations,” Socceroos coach Graham Arnold said. “We showed at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar that we can match it with the best and by playing the best on a more regular basis, it will only strengthen our preparation for the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers and the AFC Asian Cup to be hosted by Qatar in early 2024.” 2023 marks twenty years since the Socceroos only victory against England, where Arnold was Assistant Coach to Frank Farina for this encounter, an achievement he hopes to match in October.
“That night brings back some amazing memories for Australian football and football fans,” Arnold said. “While we had a very talented Australian team, we were taking on an England outfit stacked with superstars, and the result really made the players believe that they could take on anyone and qualify for the FIFA World Cup™ in 2006. It is a memory the boys will never forget."