A black eye is not the medal Caitlin Foord wanted out of the FIFA Women’s World Cup but the Matildas star says she will enjoy looking ‘pretty badass’ for at least a couple of days.
The 28-year-old donned a bandaged head for the second half of the third-place playoff defeat on Saturday night following a clash of heads with Sweden captain Kosovare Asllani.
Foord said on the night nothing would stop her from playing out the match, although she joked that she isn’t good with blood and “it would have been a different story” if she’d been cut open.
“I would have taken this (black eye) with a medal around my neck. I guess it just hurts a bit more that there is nothing to show for it,” she said at the time.
Two days later, the Arsenal star has revealed her bruised eye is masking the real lasting pain of the blow itself.
“It’s actually not bad, it looks worse than it is,” Foord told Sunrise.
“The knock was actually up here (above her eyebrow), this is where it’s sore, but I guess the tape has pushed it all down into my eye and made me look pretty badass. I’ll keep it for a couple of days.”
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How the black eye looked on Sunday afternoon. Credit: InstagramAnd by Monday morning. Credit: Sunrise
The interview was her first since the squad left camp and split up for the first time in over two months.
Asked to name one thing she will never forget, Foord said she could hardly find words for the overriding memory.
“We spend a lot of time together and I think this whole campaign, we were together for about nine weeks and you live day in, day out with the players, the staff,” she said.
“It is like your family and it has been for so many years now. So I think to just build those connections and have those bonds, and we experience the same thing – it is unique to be able to able to explain to someone what that feels like. It is very hard.
“To have that connection with them, and we’ve shared this together and just experienced that, and honestly a lot more to come as well, you can’t create that. It just happens.”
While the Matildas’ campaign was always at the centre of attention during the Women’s World Cup it took on a life of its own the deeper they went.
Ticket sales boomed and TV ratings soared, while even more visible differences were on show for the players.
Caitlin Foord scored the Matildas’ opening goal in the knockout clash with Denmark. Credit: Brendon Thorne/Getty Images
“There were obviously crowds filling up more and more outside the hotel, when a bus went past, waving, and we definitely felt we were catching the eye of the nation,” Foord said.
“I think we didn’t realise the extent of it until maybe when we really do get to reflect on it, but it’s been really incredible.
“For us, obviously we’re still a bit disappointed walking away without anything, but the bigger picture, we know we are proud of what we have done for the sport here in the country.”
The Matildas and the Socceroos have had big moments over the years but Foord said this tournament feels like “a turning point” for football in Australia across all genders and ages.
“It’s exciting to the Matildas, we’re going to have so many young girls to pick from in a couple of years,” she said.
“We want to strive to do something great in the Matildas, and that’s win a World Cup, win an Olympic gold medal – with opportunities like this it gives us the best chance to achieve that.”
Foord’s Sunrise interview followed an emotional reflection on Sunday via Instagram.
Foord (centres) and her Matildas teammates enjoyed a lap of honour despite the defeat. Credit: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
Although a downcast post-match image from the loss to Sweden led the gallery, four happier photos followed to wrap up the crazy month.
“It’s hard to find the right words to sum up this campaign after the disappointed of last night, it hurts A LOT to not have a medal to show for the tournament we’ve just had,” Foord wrote.
“But what we have done is much bigger… We’ve united the whole country, inspired the next generation, made history, changed how football is viewed here in Aus but most importantly we made a lot of Australians proud.
“To leave a legacy was our main goal and I think it’s safe to say we’ve achieved that.
“I couldn’t be prouder to be an Aussie and Matilda – Thank you Australia.”
Foord effectively played the entire tournament for the Matildas, starting all seven games and only being substituted with a minute of stoppage time left in the win over Denmark.