Matildas win sparks move from French president as huge call made on public holiday

Anthony Albanese has talked up the possibility of a national public holiday if the Matildas win the Women's World Cup.

Anthony Albanese and Emmanuel Macron alongside Matildas players at the Women's World Cup.
Emmanuel Macron is on the Matildas bandwagon amid calls for a public holiday if they win the Women's World Cup. Image: Getty

Nationals leader David Littleproud has poured cold water on Anthony Albanese's call for a national public holiday if the Matildas win the Women's World Cup. The Matildas beat France on Saturday night in a dramatic penalty shootout to advance to the semi-finals for the first time ever.

It means Australians are seemingly one step closer to getting a public holiday after the Prime Minster talked up the possibility last week. Mr Albanese is set to speak about the proposal with state and territory leaders at national cabinet on Wednesday.

'VERY DIFFICULT': Katrina Gorry's devastating family revelation after win

'THIS IS PATHETIC': Fans left raging over 'un-Australian' Matildas move

But Mr Littleproud said on Sunday that a public holiday would have serious economic consequences should it go ahead. "I don't want to be captain killjoy on this, but look, I think business has a point here," he told ABC's 'Insiders' program. "It's easy to call for a national holiday when someone else is paying for it."

Mr Littleproud said business groups had spoken out about the increased cost to small business in the event of a national holiday. "I'm proud of the Matildas, I think every Australian is, and we're going to be riding it home on Wednesday night," he said. "We can celebrate our wins but we've got to get on and pay the bills and make sure that the country keeps going."

On Saturday, the Prime Minister said similar concerns were raised by businesses last year when a national day of mourning was organised in the wake of the death of Queen Elizabeth II. "Some said that that was something that would cause economic disruption. What that did, of course, was lead to increased economic activity in a whole lot of businesses, particularly small businesses," Mr Albanese said. "It actually benefited a whole range of those businesses."

Anthony Albanese, pictured here at a Matildas game at the Women's World Cup.
Anthony Albanese watches the Matildas at the Women's World Cup. (Photo by Matt Roberts - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

French president joins Matildas bandwagon after bet

Meanwhile, French president Emmanuel Macron has jumped on the Matildas bandwagon, following through on a bet with Mr Albanese. Mr Macron took to social media on Sunday morning to declare he would be going for the Matildas in their semi-final showdown with England on Wednesday night.

“Nothing personal against our English friends, but a bet is a bet,” Macron wrote Twitter. “Good luck Australia for the semi-finals!”

Albanese and Macron had earlier agreed to support the winner of the Matildas' quarter-final clash with France for the rest of the World Cup. “If the Matildas win tonight, you’ll support Australia in the semi-finals. If France win, I’ll support France. Deal?” Albanese tweeted.

Macron replied: “The World Cup is brilliantly co-organised by you, Australia. It’s an honour to face the Matildas in the quarter-finals today, but no worries: Les Bleues will take the lead! Deal.”

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

The Matildas were rightfully celebrating their historic win on Saturday night, but they will need to refocus quickly and turn their attention to Wednesday night's semi-final. Australia and England will battle for a place in the final at 8pm at Stadium Australia in Sydney.

"My belief that this team can do anything had been there before tonight," coach Tony Gustavsson said after the win. "I genuinely believe this team can create history in so many ways, not just winning football games but in the way they can inspire the next generation and unite the nation. That is why I believe in them so much.

"The No.1 thing is to embrace this historic night and feel that we are united. I said, 'let's bring the families in the circle tonight and bring the nation in', so we can actually embrace and enjoy this moment because that is part of the mental recovery.

"Sleep and recovery is the key. There was a massive amount of physical output from the game today from a lot of players, so recovery is key."

Gustavsson will once again face the difficult dilemma of whether or not to start superstar striker Sam Kerr, who played about 65 minutes on Saturday night after coming off the bench. Gustavsson said Kerr will definitely start if she is fully fit to play 90 minutes.

with AAP

Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.