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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Novocastrian van Egmond packing bags for Tokyo

Novocastrian Emily van Egmond is packing her bags for Tokyo after being named today in the Australian Matildas squad for the upcoming Olympic Games.

Coach Tony Gustavsson selected an 18-strong outfit, which will be captained by international star Sam Kerr.

It also boasts 12 returning Rio Olympians for their second Games, with six set to make their Olympic debuts in Tokyo.

The Matildas qualified for the Olympics in March, with van Egmond and Kerr leading the Australian charge during the AFC women’s qualifiers. 

The side then punched its ticket to Tokyo away from home with victory in Quang Ninh, Vietnam. 

Chef de Mission for the Australian Olympic Team Ian Chesterman welcomed Wednesday’s announcement.

“Congratulations to the 18 players selected,” he said.

“The Matildas have shown they are a world-class team and we will be thrilled to see them proudly wear the green and gold in Tokyo.

“This side has shown incredible resilience and a tight bond to make it through the trials of the pandemic.

“So, I know they’re up for the challenge in Tokyo.

“While 18 athletes are achieving a fantastic Olympic milestone today, I also want to thank the countless family members, friends, supporters, coaches and team-mates who have helped these athletes grow from junior footballers to Olympic athletes ready to compete on the world’s biggest sporting stage.

“The Matildas are out to make an impact in Tokyo.

“And, I know millions of Australian fans will be cheering them on from back home.”

Former Newcastle Jet van Egmond received her first call-up to the Matildas in 2010 for a two-match series against Italy.

But, unable to play due to injury, the 27-year-old made her senior team debut two months later as a substitute against North Korea. 

As a member of the Matildas’ 2011 World Cup squad, the Warners Bay product managed to get on the scoresheet in a victory against Equatorial Guinea.

She also featured in Australia’s quarter-final loss against Sweden.

Van Egmond was again selected for the Matildas’ World Cup squad in 2015.

In Canada, she started every game of the campaign as they arrived in the quarter-finals before being knocked out by rivals Japan. 

In her first Olympic Games, she was a regular fixture for the Matildas – and played the whole quarter-final match against Brazil.

With the showdown going to a penalty shootout, van Egmond’s goal wasn’t enough for the Australians, who bowed out to the hosts 7-6 in a heartbreaking sequence. 

Over her professional career, the talented midfielder’s won trophies throughout Australia, America and Europe, and will be aiming to add an Olympic medal to her inventory come Tokyo. 

The Matildas open their campaign on 21 July against New Zealand before meeting world number five and reigning Olympic silver medallists Sweden.

They’ll finish the group stage against current world champions and top-ranked USA.

Australian Matildas: Lydia Williams (Katanning), Teagan Micah (Redcliffe), Alanna Kennedy (Rosemeadow), Steph Catley (Seaford), Clare Polkinghorne (Tingalpa), Ellie Carpenter (Wamberal), Aivi Luik (Elanora), Emily van Egmond (Warners Bay), Elise Kellond-Knight (Gold Coast), Tameka Yallop (Upper Coomera), Chloe Logarzo (Annandale), Kyra Cooney-Cross (Torquay), Sam Kerr (North Coogee), Hayley Raso (Broadbeach), Caitlin Foord (Lake Illawarra), Emily Gielnik (Alexandra Hills), Kyah Simon (Tacoma), Mary Fowler (Bankstown)

Mackenzie Arnold, Laura Brock, Charlotte Grant and Courtney Nevin have been named as the travelling reserves.

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