Tobin Heath of the United States chases Australia's Mary Fowler at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Colorado on April 4. Picture: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images
Tobin Heath of the United States chases Australia's Mary Fowler at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Colorado on April 4. Picture: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

Teen sensation wins World Cup berth

KYAH Simon has lost her battle to get fit in time for the Women's World Cup, instead named on standby for Ante Milicic's Matildas squad.

Teen sensation Mary Fowler will go to France in her place, Milicic announced on Tuesday, as one of the coach's final 23 players for the showpiece.

Veteran forward Lisa De Vanna has booked her ticket to a fourth World Cup alongside Clare Polkinghorne and Lydia Williams, and a familiar established core including captain Sam Kerr, vice-captain Steph Catley, Laura Alleway, Caitlin Foord, Elise Kellond-Knight, Emily van Egmond, and Tameka Yallop (nee Butt).

Fowler, 16, has been in the spotlight since making her Matildas debut as a 15-year-old under former coach Alen Stajcic.

The talented, ambitious striker clearly caught Milicic's attention in last month's 5-3 friendly loss to the US.

She's one of eight World Cup debutants to make the cut, along with defenders Ellie Carpenter and Gema Simon, midfielders Aivi Luik and Amy Harrison, forwards Chloe Logarzo and Emily Gielnik and goalkeeper Teagan Micah.

(L-R) Alanna Kennedy, Emily van Egmond and Mary Fowler train with the Matildas in Denver, Colorado ahead of a recent friendly against the United States. Picture: Rachel Bach
(L-R) Alanna Kennedy, Emily van Egmond and Mary Fowler train with the Matildas in Denver, Colorado ahead of a recent friendly against the United States. Picture: Rachel Bach

"This is a special group of Australian footballers because, as a unit, they have accumulated a wealth of international experience despite the average age of the team being quite young," Milicic said.

"Having players that have appeared at multiple FIFA Women's World Cups in our squad will help to guide the eight players travelling to their first Women's World Cup, and I believe we will have genuine competition for starting positions across all areas of the pitch.

 

Matildas new Coach Ante Milicic with Clare Polkinghorne (L) and Mackenzie Arnold. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
Matildas new Coach Ante Milicic with Clare Polkinghorne (L) and Mackenzie Arnold. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

"I don't like to single out individuals, however I would like to congratulate Lisa (De Vanna), Clare (Polkinghorne), and Lydia (Williams) for earning selection in their fourth FIFA Women's World Cup squads."

Experienced campaigner Simon last turned out for Melbourne City in December before having surgery on her ankle.

Though the 27-year-old played 13 minutes off the bench for National Women's Soccer League side Houston Dash last month, she hasn't had any game time since.

She and Melbourne Victory youngster Kyra Cooney-Cross are the two players on standby, with the pair to join the squad proper at the pre-tournament camp in Turkey from May 19, before a last friendly with the Netherlands in Eindhoven on June 1 and then the first group game against Italy in Valenciennes on June 9.

Sam Kerr will lead the Matildas at the World Cup in France. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images
Sam Kerr will lead the Matildas at the World Cup in France. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

A LOOK AT THE MATILDAS SQUAD FOR THE WORLD CUP

THE LEADERSHIP TEAM - Sam Kerr will captain Australia at the World Cup, with Steph Catley her deputy. Several others in the squad, including Clare Polkinghorne, Lisa De Vanna and Elise Kellond-Knight, have previously acted as captain.

HEADING TO A FOURTH WORLD CUP - Lydia Williams, Clare Polkinghorne and Lisa De Vanna all represented Australia at the 2007, 2011 and 2015 World Cups.

FIRST TIMERS - Gema Simon, Aivi Luik, Chloe Logarzo, Teagan Micah, Emily Gielnik, Mary Fowler, Ellie Carpenter, Amy Harrison are heading to their first World Cup. BY CLUBS W-League winners Sydney FC supply five players - Chloe Logarzo, Caitlin Foord, Lisa De Vanna, Alanna Kennedy and Amy Harrison. Brisbane Roar and Melbourne City both have four representatives.

OLDEST - Lisa De Vanna and Aivi Luik will both attend the tournament as 34-year-olds. YOUNGEST At just 16, Mary Fowler will be the youngest Australian player in France. MOST EXPERIENCED - Lisa De Vanna's 147 caps and 47 goals stands her above the rest. She is one of three Matildas to have been capped 100 times by Australia in the squad, with Clare Polkinghorne (116) and Elise Kellond-Knight (106).

LEAST EXPERIENCED - Teagan Micah, heading as a back-up goalkeeper, has never played for Australia.

BY THE NUMBERS - The 23-woman squad has 1276 caps between them, with 175 international goals under their belts.

MATILDAS WORLD CUP SQUAD

Teigen ALLEN, Laura ALLEWAY, Mackenzie ARNOLD (Gk), Ellie CARPENTER, Steph CATLEY (VC), Lisa DE VANNA, Caitlin FOORD, Mary FOWLER, Emily GIELNIK, Katrina GORRY, Amy HARRISON, Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT, Alanna KENNEDY, Sam KERR (C), Chloe LOGARZO, Aivi LUIK, Teagan MICAH (Gk), Clare POLKINGHORNE, Emily GIELNIK, Gema SIMON, Emily VAN EGMOND, Lydia WILLIAMS (Gk), Tameka YALLOP

News Corp Australia

Whales soon on their way

Whales soon on their way

Wave Rave with Gaz

Last attempt to get someone (anyone) interested in election

Last attempt to get someone (anyone) interested in election

We reveal winner of the 'Does My Hypocrisy Look Big in This?' award

REPORT: Big Day for Byron Tri Club

REPORT: Big Day for Byron Tri Club

Local club runs a good race