The Matildas and Sam Kerr were left stunned when singer Nikki Webster joined them on stage and broke out in song at their post-World Cup celebrations following their loss to Sweden. The Matildas lost 2-0 in their third-placed playoff clash against Sweden and were left without a medal at the World Cup.
Regardless, the Matildas have captivated the nation and TV audiences prove that the country was right behind the national team. The Seven Network revealed on Thursday morning that a staggering peak of 11.15 million viewers turned in to watch the blockbuster showdown, with an average of 7.13 million.
The bonkers figure breaks the all-time record of 8.8 million who watched Cathy Freeman's iconic gold medal run in the 400m at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. The Seven Network also said 957,000 viewers watched on their streaming service 7plus, which also broke a record.
And while the Matildas didn't walk away with a medal, they walked away knowing they have left a legacy for the upcoming generation. And the Matildas faced an adoring crowd on Sunday to celebrate the fanfare they have achieved across the last four weeks.
And in a surprise moment, Sydney 2000 Olympics opening ceremony star Webster stunned the players when she emerged on stage to sing her famous Aussie song, 'Strawberry Kisses'. Earlier in the tournament, the Matildas revealed the song had become the locker room 'go to' as they charged towards the semi-finals.
And the surprise appearance from Webster was evident upon Kerr's face as the players got around the singer in a brilliant moment to end their campaign. Fans couldn't help but swoon over the moment.
— CommBank Matildas (@TheMatildas) August 20, 2023
The Matilda's confirmed a few weeks ago that 'Strawberry Kisses' by Nikki Webster is their team's theme song this year.
Fast forward to the fan day today in Brisbane, and Nikki Webster surprisingly showed up to sing it live for the girls.
I love this so much 💛💚🏽👏🏽 pic.twitter.com/Jo35aGy0QI
— jords✨ (@jaiarrowsfave) August 20, 2023
— Anth W. 🌏 (anth0888 on 🧵's) (@anth0888) August 20, 2023
Absolutely gold 🔥💪🏻🇦🇺🥰😎
— Andy Earper (@delmacgirl) August 20, 2023
— Anika Wells MP (@AnikaWells) August 20, 2023
— Peter Murphy (@PeterWMurphy1) August 20, 2023
Sam Kerr singing Strawberry Kisses with Nikki Webster was 100 percent on my WWC bingo card.
— Hayley Routley (@hayley_routley) August 20, 2023
Um just Sam Kerr singing Strawberry Kisses with Nikki Webster! 🍓 💋 😭 https://t.co/2LkyFcYy1s
— Jess Lilley 💾 (@lilleyjuice) August 20, 2023
Sam Kerr devastated after Sweden loss
While it was all smiles for the Matildas during their World Cup celebrations, Kerr admitted after the match on Saturday that it would take some time to recover from missing out on a medal at their home World Cup.
"It will take a while obviously," she said in her post-match interview. "It took me a while to get over the bronze medal match loss to the USA and the sadness comes from just feeling like you missed an opportunity.
"What we've done for the country is amazing, but the bronze medal really, for us as individuals, as a team would have been nice. So it's a bit sad, but we'll get over it and we'll move on and come back stronger."
Coach Tony Gustavsson said the tournament was only the beginning and that more investment was needed in women's football. "From a broader perspective ... I know the FA is keen on making an in-depth review of each tournament like they did after the Olympics, after the Asian Cup, that will be made now as well," Gustavsson said.
"In that review I think we're going to learn a lot about me as a coach, about the team, about preparation, about investment. What I can say is I love working with this team. It resonates with me as a coach; their identity and their why.
"And I've said it before, I don't see this as an end of a journey. I see it as a beginning of a journey. But I also want to be very clear that I want to see investment now, I really do. I want to see investment. And I mean like a real investment that we're serious about what we're doing."
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