Tim Cahill's staggering call on Matildas as John Aloisi 'relegated' at World Cup

Two of the Socceroos' greatest players have made bold predictions about how far the Matildas can go at the Women's World Cup.

Tim Cahill and John Aloisi, pictured here alongside the Matildas at the Women's World Cup.
Tim Cahill and John Aloisi both believe the Matildas can win the Women's World Cup. Image: Getty

Socceroos legend Tim Cahill has declared the Matildas will go all the way and win the Women's World Cup, while John Aloisi has admitted his iconic penalty in 2005 has been superseded. The Matildas are just two wins away from lifting the World Cup trophy, but must first get past England in Wednesday night's semi-final.

Cahill, who was in Brisbane on Saturday night to watch the Matildas advance to the semi-finals for the first time ever, believes the dream of an Australia World Cup victory could soon become a reality. The Socceroos' best result at a World Cup is two round-of-16 finishes (including one last year), while the Matildas had never previously made it past the quarters.

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"By beating France, who are probably the strongest opposition, there's no reason why they can't go on to win it," Cahill said in Sydney on Sunday. "France is the most complete team, tactically and their manager (Herve Renard), I know a lot about him from his time with the Saudi Arabian men's team.

"Now it'll come down to fatigue for those who have played every game for the Matildas. Hopefully they can back it up physically and mentally because they're riding the wave. I'm quietly confident but we have to be fearless and on the front foot."

Cahill said the Aussies won't be overawed by the occasion or the might of England's Lionesses, who came back to beat Colombia 2-1 later on Saturday night to advance. The reigning European champions have shown their ability to grind out wins throughout the tournament.

England's Dutch boss Sarina Wiegman has lost just one game since taking over in 2021. However that defeat came at the hands of Australia in a friendly game earlier this year.

"(The Matildas) are continuing to hit milestones," Cahill said. "When you've got an Australian player playing for Real Madrid, Chelsea or Arsenal, (their achievements) are not a surprise.

"If anything, it's sort of similar to the generation we had when we were playing overseas, so I'm very proud. You can see that they are together with how they rode the storm."

John Aloisi 'happy to be relegated' by heroic Matildas

Meanwhile, fellow Socceroos legend Aloisi said on Saturday night he was "happy to be relegated" by the Matildas' incredible penalty shootout victory. Aloisi is responsible for one the most iconic moments in Australian sporting history when his match-winning penalty against Uruguay in 2005 sent Australia to the Men's World Cup.

It sparked scenes of absolute bedlam at Stadium Australia as Socceroos players and fans celebrated their qualification for the World Cup for the first time in 32 years. But Aloisi was in commentary on Saturday night and reckoned the Matildas have outdone him.

“I don’t think I have ever seen a penalty shoot-out like that before,” he said on Channel 7. “It ebbed and flowed, who was going to win, who was going to stand up.

"Mackenzie Arnold, who was enormous all night, making those saves, she takes potentially the winning penalty, hits the post and then she saves one. Drama, drama. This is what sport does, though.”

John Aloisi in 2005.
John Aloisi's penalty in 2005 sent the Socceroos to the 2006 World Cup. (Photo by Matthew King/Getty Images)

Former Matildas player Elise Kellond-Knight said: “I’m speechless. What have we just witnessed? I don’t have words.

“How everyone just stood up right there, I don’t think I have seen a penalty shoot-out go to 10 penalty-takers at this level before... so many moments where we could’ve won the game.

“Going second as the penalty-takers is usually horrendous. We had so many game-winning moments but we held on, held on, then (Cortnee) Vine to step up. Johnny, commiserations, you just got relegated to second most epic penalty shoot-out.”

But Aloisi admitted with a laugh: “I’m happy to be relegated. We’re in a semi-final. This is what a World Cup does on home soil - it brings everyone together. The nation together.

"Everyone’s following the Matildas. Everyone’s behind them. Everyone’s believing they can go all the way and just this, this winning penalty from Vine, it gives you that belief that they can go all the way.”

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