While the Matildas fell short of making it to the FIFA Women’s World Cup finals, hundreds of fans and a special celebrity guest arrived in Brisbane to thank them for shining a spotlight on women’s sport.
Fans packed Brisbane’s Riverstage venue on Sunday to see the Australian women’s soccer team after their final game of the tournament against Sweden.
WATCH VIDEO ABOVE: Matildas thanked with surprise guest appearance at Brisbane event
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Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Brisbane City Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner handed the athletes the keys to the city, congratulating them for Australia’s best finish in a Women’s World Cup.
What the Matildas didn’t expect however was a performance by Australian pop artist Nikki Webster, whose famous song Strawberry Kisses has become the Matildas’ unofficial team song for the last couple of weeks.
Singer Nikki Webster surprises Matildas players with a performance of her hit single Strawberry Kisses. Credit: 7NEWS
In a social media video, goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold said the song was often sung by the women because it was defender Steph Catley’s favourite.
“We put it on the plane and everything,“ Arnold said in the video from a press conference.
As Webster made her surprise appearance at Riverstage, she beelined to hug Catley and then the rest of the players.
After overcoming their shock, the Matildas begin singing and dancing along with Webster.
Video of the performance has started circulating on multiple social media platforms and fans expressed their enjoyment seeing the athletes celebrate their achievements.
“Watching this on repeat x100 looking for different Tillies’ reactions each time,” one Instagram user said.
Crowds packed Riverstage to see the Matildas. Credit: 7NEWS
“So glad they got to enjoy this moment and what it meant to Steph. So amazing to see all the girls loving it too,” another person said.
“Equal parts iconic and hilarious,” a third added.
On Saturday evening, the team’s bronze medal dream was dashed after a 2-nil loss against Sweden.
But over the course of several weeks, the Matildas have captured the hearts of many Australians for their dedication to the Women’s World Cup.
More people tuned in to watch the heartbreaking FIFA Women’s World Cup semi-final loss to England than any other TV show in the modern ratings era.
Team captain Sam Kerr said: “We’ve proven to the world but also within Australia that we are a footballing nation.”
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