Anthony Albanese's declaration that he would push for a national public holiday if the Matildas won the World Cup has backfired brutally, with many claiming he 'jinxed' the Aussie girls. The Matildas' World Cup dream was crushed on Wednesday night in a 3-1 loss to England after Sam Kerr's incredible goal was cancelled out by some brutal defensive lapses.
It means the Matildas fell two wins short of potentially giving all Australians a day off, after Albanese had pushed the idea of a public holiday earlier in the tournament. The PM took to social media to congratulate the Aussie side after the loss on Wednesday night, writing: “You’ve given us all moments and memories that will last a lifetime,” he wrote. “Every single Matilda has brought us joy throughout this @FIFAWWC. And I have no doubt that the next generation of Matildas were watching. We'll all be cheering for you on Saturday (in the third-place playoff).”
'CAN'T DO THAT': Matildas ripped by former player over 'awful' act
'NOT ABOUT YOU': Tim Cahill called out over bizarre Matildas post
However the PM's tweet was flooded with comments from angry fans claiming he'd put too much pressure on the Matildas by calling for a public holiday. Political journalist Latika Bourke wrote: "Don't think the country getting ahead of itself helped the Matildas tremendously. Lionesses won Euros last year, have more experience with the pressure at this point in a tournament. Meanwhile, Australia was preemptively putting an unsolicited public holiday on the team's shoulders."
Speaking earlier on Wednesday, Albanese revealed he'd abandoned his initial plan to discuss the possibility of a public holiday at a national cabinet meeting with state and territory leaders. "We won't actually be discussing (a public holiday) today, we're discussing housing and other issues - it's up to the states and territories," he told Triple M Hobart.
Oh and also talk of a public holiday was embarrassing.
Women’s sport doesn’t need a public holiday. It, at all levels, needs funding, infrastructure, appropriate toilets and change rooms, better pay and conditions for its athletes, lucrative broadcast deals, better media…
— Megan Hustwaite (@MeganHustwaite) August 16, 2023
Don't think the country getting ahead of itself helped the Matildas tremendously. Lionesses won Euros last year, have more experience w. the pressure at this point in a tournament. Meanwhile, Australia was preemptively putting an unsolicited public holiday on the team's shoulders
— Latika M Bourke (@latikambourke) August 16, 2023
albo jinxed it with that public holiday talk
— spliff lorusso (@sollyywood) August 16, 2023
No public holiday to worry about now… Albo putting cart before horse again.. Jinxed them..
— 👻 Ghost of TedBullpitt 🇦🇺 (@TedBullpitt1) August 16, 2023
albo jinxed it with the public holiday promise😒
— 🦉athena (@skittee0k) August 16, 2023
Anthony Albanese urged to support women's football
Others called on Albanese to pour more funding into women's football if he truly wants to see it continue to make strides in Australia. One fan wrote: "Invest in women’s sport and help improve the opportunities for the generation who’ve been inspired by this Matildas team and all they’ve achieved at this World Cup."
Another commented: “Fund the game...we’ve got the receipts of you and the other politicians going ham over how well our Matildas have gone. Give the game the support it needs and deserves”.
Speaking after the game, Matildas captain Sam Kerr expressed similar sentiments. "I can only speak for the Matildas. We need funding in our development. We need funding in our grassroots. We need funding. We need funding everywhere," she said.
"The comparison to other sports isn't really good enough. And hopefully this tournament changes that because that's the legacy you leave — not not what you do on the pitch. The legacy is what you do off the pitch. And hopefully, I mean, it's hard to talk about now, but hopefully that this is the start of something new."
How about funding them properly then, PM?
— Mister Bailey OAM Says Yes. (@MissBaileyWoof) August 16, 2023
Stop the tweets. Start the funding.
The perfect place to start?
Look at the England set-up.
Study it. Research it. Copy it.
We made a semi-final with no government support or $.
Imagine what we could do with it.
— Jack M (@jjmvoice) August 16, 2023
Matildas players urge fans to continue their support
Vice-captain Steph Catley said she hoped the World Cup could prove "just the beginning" for women's football in Australia. "When you look at football in general in Australia - football is very much not funded the way it should be," she said.
"There's no argument now that people aren't interested. People are interested. The numbers are there. Kids are playing. People want to be watching the sport. So yeah, hopefully this has just been enough to prove that and to create the argument and to improve facilities, improve standards for women in football, football in general."
Midfielder Katrina Gorry urged fans not to forget about women's football after the World Cup. "It's been absolutely incredible to be on home soil for a World Cup," she said.
"The supporters that have been with us from day one and everyone else that has jumped on board to watch this beautiful game. The shift in Australian football has just been incredible.
"We've loved every minute of it. From getting off the plane to walking out of our hotel; Australia, we love you. I hope we've made you proud. There's still so much to go for. Don't jump off the bandwagon now, keep on coming and I'm sure we'll make you proud."
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.