The Matildas have soaked up the applause in one final lap of honour despite falling to Sweden in the FIFA Women’s World Cup third-place playoff.
In post-match scenes full of tears and adulation, the Australians celebrated their greatest ever result in front of friends, families and fans – with some lucky supporters receiving a memento from players.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Matildas veteran beside herself over heartwarming post-match scenes.
The farewell came just as Sweden celebrated following the post-match presentation of their bronze medals.
“You wouldn’t know it right now that they won something because the Matildas are getting one hell of an ovation as they go on a little bit of a lap of honour – yeah, call it a lap of honour – around Brisbane Stadium,” Adam Peacock said on Channel 7.
“Many of the players in tears, the fans in raptures.”
Matildas’ inspirational journey ends in tough defeat
Matildas players thank the fans after the loss to Sweden. Credit: Getty Images
The heartwarming celebration reached new heights when several Matildas stars gifted their boots to fans in the crowd, with veteran defender Aivi Luik going one better when she also gave up the socks off her feet.
“Aivi Luik is just one of the most beautiful human beings, so that does not surprise me,” Matildas veteran Emily Gielnik said.
Peacock added: “Katrina Gorry’s walking around without boots, I think Hayley Raso’s lost her boots to the crowd as well.”
“Sweden celebrating with their crowd, it’s just a beautiful moment all told,” he said.
“We come out of a game and we don’t feel like someone’s lost a game of football.”
Katrina Gorry gifts her boots to a fan. Credit: Getty
The lap of honour left Gielnik beside herself.
“If this doesn’t move you I don’t know what will,” she said.
“You can clearly see, (even) after a loss tonight, the Matildas have won the hearts of Australia, well and truly.
“The Matildas, it runs deep – the never-say-die attitude. It kills me to see how devastated they are. They wanted this win, they deserved this win. They threw every inch of their being at this game.
“This is show-stopping, this is electric. Australia has fallen in love with this team and rightfully so.”
Sam Kerr waves to the Matildas fans sticking around for their lap of honour. Credit: Getty
Matildas captain Sam Kerr singled out Australian fans in a post-match interview on the pitch.
“It’s been a dream come true,” the skipper said.
“The way the fans have got behind us, the way the girls have carried themselves – we’ve proven to the world but also within Australia that we are a footballing nation.
“That’s all down to the fans. We couldn’t get it done, but hopefully we’ve inspired people for many years to come”