Matildas lock in 11th hour Dutch date
THE Matildas have added Eindhoven to their European whistle-stop tour, locking in a final pre-World Cup showdown with the Netherlands.
The June 1 friendly at the Philips Stadium - the club home of Socceroos Trent Sainsbury and Aziz Behich - will come a week before Australia's tournament kicks off and marks the last opportunity to fine-tune ahead of their opening match against Italy.
The Matildas, who are still in camp in the United States following Friday's 5-3 loss to the world No.1 Americans, will reconvene on May 19 in Turkey at Antalya's high-end training facility used by the Socceroos before last year's men's World Cup in Russia.
There the group will have 10 days to continue bedding in Ante Milicic's style and eradicate some of the defensive issues exposed last week, before departing for Eindhoven on May 29.
They'll remain there until June 5, when they'll drive the two to three hours to northern France city Valenciennes, the location of their clash with Italy on June 9.
Milicic's team will also play an earlier friendly during the Turkey camp, though that will likely be against a local side.
But Sarina Wiegman's eighth-ranked Dutch outfit, drawn alongside Canada, Cameroon and New Zealand in Group E, should provide a sufficiently stern test before they play 15th-ranked Italy, 10th-ranked Brazil and 53rd-ranked Jamaica for a spot in the tournament's knockout phase.
The two countries last met in 2017 at the Algarve Cup, where the Matildas won 3-2 but were pushed hard in the second half.
"We believe that this match against the Netherlands will come at a perfect time for our team," Milicic said.
"We will have completed our 10-day training camp in Turkey where the focus will be on embedding our style of play and tactical principles.
"With this match against a strong opponent coming a week before our first game in France, we will be able to get a good gauge of what aspects of our approach need to be fine-tuned prior to the start of the Women's World Cup."