Matildas vice-captain Steph Catley has delivered an emotional message to the Australian public following the Aussies heartbreaking FIFA Women’s World Cup semi-final loss to England in Sydney on Wednesday night.
Catley praised the support of the fans and believes more success will come for the Matildas with their Women’s World Cup journey “only the beginning” for the team.
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The fullback endured a difficult night as England caused the Matildas defence numerous problems, winning the match 3-1 and progressing to the final against Spain on Sunday.
Catley has enjoyed a hugely successful Women’s World Cup campaign and her penalty heroics in the opening group game against Ireland will be forever remembered (she was the stand-in skipper and slotted the winner in the 1-0 win).
Speaking to 7NEWS.com.au following the semi-final loss to England, Catley was full of emotion as she reflected on the Matildas’ journey, and delivered a message of thanks to the Australian public.
“What else can I say other than thank you,” Catley told 7NEWS.com.au as she fought back tears.
“It’s been an incredible ride and I’m sure the fans have felt every single emotion like we have.
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“We have felt the love, we have felt the support and we hear the crowd.
“We have seen fans on the street and wishing us well and good luck.”
Catley urged the fans to keep supporting the Matildas and predicted more success will come for the side as the Australian team look ahead to the third v fourth playoff match against Sweden and the Paris 2024 Olympics.
“The fans have been through it all, so a massive thank you and keep supporting us,” Catley said.
“Keep supporting women’s football because this is only the beginning.”
Catley said the support for the Matildas has been “incredible” as she made a plea for more funding for football to ensure the sport can capitalise on the success of the team.
Catley and her teammates cut dejected figures when they realised their dream was no more. Credit: FIFA via Getty Images
“It’s hard to sum it up, but I think the last month has shown how much Australia cares about football and how many people are interested in the sport and how many young girls and boys want to play,” Catley said.
“When you look at the numbers, the funding is not there for football and hopefully it is now and especially funding for women in football.
“Young girls can see what we have done and can see the opportunities and the pathways and it’s a different world now.
“I’ve not seen anything like it and I’ve not felt anything like it before.”
Catley took a moment to reflect on her journey and said the Matildas success is a “step in the right direction” for women’s football in Australia.
“I’m sure over the next couple of days or the next week or so I’ll have a chance to sort of reflect on it all, but it’s been incredible,” Catley said.
“We have been getting the bus to games and we look out the window and everyone is on their way to the game and it’s like the whole world is invested.
“It’s hard to put it into words, it’s incredible and hopefully a step in the right direction.”
Following the semi-final loss to England, Catley took to social media in an emotional post as she urged the fans to support the team in the third v fourth playoff match against Sweden.
“We gave everything we had to this journey,” Catley wrote on Instagram.
“Our hearts are broken but we’ll continue to stand up and fight until the very end.
“Australia, you’ve been with us through it all. Stand with us again on Saturday 💚💛.”