The Matildas go Waltzing on in the round of 16

‘Waltzing Matilda’ is a famous Australian folk song. The song originally to do with a sheep shearers strike in the 1890s is all about fighting for social justice. Waltzing is from the German term  ‘auf der walz’ , which means traveling while learning a trade. Matilda has German origins, too and means Mighty Battle Maiden. The Matildas are trailblazing their way through the World Cup, fighting not only for every ball but for equality en route and people across the country and tuning in in unprecedented numbers.

An acquaintance helped us get last minute tickets. We were off to the Australia Matilda’s final group match. The must-win, sell-out game against defending Olympic Champion (and tournament dark horse) Canada, was billed as the return of Australian football’s golden girl Sam Kerr. The tense atmosphere was palpable  – with so much on the line. The home crowd was nervous and quiet. Sam Kerr was not in the starting lineup – uncertainty and a slight sense of panic seemed to be gripping the audience.

The Matildas quickly put this to rest. Without their leader being on the field they put in a powerful performance – winning in style. What next? A wave of football fever is beginning to take over Australia, with record TV audiences and all remaining matches already sold-out. The Ball crew could not help being engrossed in the action. This World Cup is turning out to be one of the best ever on the field but off of it is where the legacy will happen for the women’s game all over the planet and particularly right here in Australia.

We are very thankful that we were able to experience this historic and euphoric game, and many Matildas fans who were excited to sign The Ball.

Pictures by Hamish Appleby Photography.

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