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Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson coy on future as USA rumours swirl

Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson coy on future as USA rumours swirl
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Coach Tony Gustavsson has hinted his future with the Matildas is contingent on more high-performance investment as his charges attempt to move on from FIFA Women’s World Cup heartbreak and towards the Paris Olympics.

The Matildas’ groundbreaking run ended on a sour note, suffering a 2-0 loss to Sweden in the third-place play-off at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.

Two-time World Cup winner Jill Ellis has pushed her former assistant Gustavsson’s case as Vlatko Andonovski’s successor with the United States.

The Swede, who is contracted with the Matildas until after the Paris Olympics, wouldn’t be drawn on that job specifically but stressed he needed investment.

“From a broader perspective … I know the FA is keen on making an in-depth review of each tournament like they did after the Olympics, after the Asian Cup, that will be made now as well,” Gustavsson said.

Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson during the loss to Sweden. Credit: Getty Images

“In that review I think we’re going to learn a lot about me as a coach, about the team, about preparation, about investment. What I can say is I love working with this team. It resonates with me as a coach; their identity and their why.

“And I’ve said it before, I don’t see this as an end of a journey. I see it as a beginning of a journey.

“But I also want to be very clear that I want to see investment now, I really do. I want to see investment. And I mean like a real investment that we’re serious about what we’re doing.”

Nikki Webster stuns with surprise Matildas tribute: ‘Iconic’

Matildas goalkeeper’s devastating unseen farewell

Gustavsson pointed to the Matildas’ introduction of a full-time goalkeeper coach, physiotherapist and sports scientist since his appointment.

He also called for more investment in youth international pathways to ensure players could step up.

His charges were reeling from the play-off loss, their second in three years after losing the bronze medal match at the Tokyo Olympics.

“We want to do something special. We haven’t won anything yet,” Caitlin Foord said.

“We want to win something. Until we do that I don’t think we will be satisfied.”

Skipper Sam Kerr will relish the prospect of kicking off Olympic qualifying in front of her home crowd in Perth in October, after she moves on from this defeat.

Sam Kerr waves to fans after the loss. Credit: Getty Images

“It will take a while obviously,” she said.

“It took me a while to get over the bronze medal match loss to the USA and the sadness comes from just feeling like you missed an opportunity.

“What we’ve done for the country is amazing, but the bronze medal really, for us as individuals, as a team would have been nice. So it’s a bit sad, but we’ll get over it and we’ll move on and come back stronger.”

The Matildas enjoyed a heroes’ reception in Brisbane on Sunday, with almost 4,500 fans packing the Riverstage as the players were given the key to the city.

The players, and in particular vice-captain Steph Catley, were surprised on-stage by Nikki Webster with a rendition of her 2000 hit ‘Strawberry Kisses’, one of the Matildas’ songs of the tournament.

Meanwhile the Channel Seven broadcast of Saturday’s loss reached 6.25 million and drew an average national total audience of 3.38 million.

Sam Kerr delivers stirring message to adoring fans

Matildas’ heartwarming act in lap of honour full of tears

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