Matildas players smack down England claim ahead of World Cup semi-final

The Matildas are not buying into the animosity of the old rivalry.

Lydia Williams during a press conference and the England players celebrate.

The Matildas players have slapped down any animosity towards England ahead of their highly-anticipated women's World Cup semi-final showdown in Sydney on Wednesday. Naturally, any clash with the old enemy in any sporting code brings with it history and rivalry among the fan bases.

Australia retaining the Ashes in a heated contest over in England in July reignited the animosity between supporters, while England will look back at the 2003 Rugby World Cup final with fond memories of a triumph on enemy territory. However, Australian goalkeeper Lydia Williams has shut down any animosity between the teams as Australia seek to create further history at their home World Cup.

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"Obviously you see it in the men's competitions, especially in cricket and rugby," goalkeeper Lydia Williams told reporters. "But for us, we've had so many rivalries with other countries that we've played against. We've played against Brazil at every other World Cup.

"So you could say that (about Brazil), you could say that about America, you could say that about so many countries. So really, for us it's just another game. All the like extra stuff of rivalries, it doesn't really come about. If anything, it's to prove a point that we can make the final and represent Australia that way."

Teammate Tameka Yallop even went as far to say New Zealand were the team she considered above England in terms of rivalry. "The biggest internal rivalry is probably New Zealand still.

"But within the team right now, our mindset is to be the best you've got to beat the best so for us, England are right up there and so the other teams in the semi-finals as well. We're at that stage in our game and in our mindset that we can beat the best and we've shown it before and it's all about going out and doing it in this game."

Mary Fowler trains.

Sam Kerr bidding for starting spot against England

One of the biggest talking points ahead of the semi-final clash is whether superstar Sam Kerr will start for the Matildas. Having introduced a much needed energy boost of the bench against France in the quarter-final, Kerr could start against England as she appears to have recovered from her pre-tournament injury.

And Williams noted that the experience of players such as Yallop, Kerr, Caitlin Foord and Steph Catley, who all play against England's stars in the Women's Super League will be important.

"We play against them, we know what (their) tendencies are, versing them week in, week out and watching them," Williams said. "So it's more of a chess match and how you get the better of each other.

"At the end of the day you want to do the best for your country and I think the friend part we'll probably put to put to bed for a little bit."

When do the Matildas play England in World Cup semi-final?

The Matildas - having made history by winning through to a World Cup semi-final for the first time ever - now turn their attention to trying to topple European champions, England. The Aussies will battle their old enemy on Wednesday night at 8pm in front of a sold-out Stadium Australia in Sydney for a place in the final.

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