As the Socceroos prepare for their final two World Cup qualifiers against Tajikistan and Jordan, captain Mile Jedinak has said his side will take inspiration from the heroics of the Matildas in qualifying for the Rio Olympics.
Jedinak, along with teammates Mathew Leckie and Aaron Mooy, joined Matildas players Lisa De Vanna and Steph Catley at Henley Beach in Adelaide on Tuesday morning to unveil the new national team kits.
The Crystal Palace midfielder was effusive in his praise of the Matildas and what they have achieved.
“It’s huge news,” he said.
“We know how hard it was for the boys to get the job done and to see them do it and do it so convincingly was a huge achievement, it shouldn’t be taken lightly.
“They’ve done fantastic things, not just that (qualifying) but even previous before that they’ve had a fantastic three or four years.
“It has to be used as inspiration, there’s no two ways around it. It’s just proof that if you do things the right way anything is possible.”
Leckie also praised the efforts of the women’s national team.
“It’s great, it’s good for the national team and it’s good for the country,” Leckie said.
“It’s always good to see them guys succeed as well and they’ve done what they really need to do and that’s qualify and that’s what we’re striving for too.
“They’re keeping the bar high with the success for the country and that’s our goal as well. The first step is to do well against Tajikistan.”
Two weeks on from their success, DeVanna and Catley could still barely contain their excitement at the prospect of playing in Rio and said the fact the Matildas kit was launched at the same time as the Socceroos’ was proof of how far the women’s game has come.
“To be having our kit launch at the same time as the Socceroos is massive,” Catley said.
“It’s a new thing for us, we usually get it about a year later so it means a lot and I think it says a lot for how far women’s football is coming.”
De Vanna, who will be making her second appearance at the Olympics, echoed her teammates comments.
“Just the fact that we’re on par now, they look at us and respect us that we put in just as much effort as they do,” she said.
“It’s fantastic that as football, we’re respected as much as they are. It’s just fantastic that we can be here and share the moment with them and they feel the same way about us.
“At the end of the day it’s about the jersey and playing for your country and they’re passion for the country is no different to what me, Steph and the rest of the Matildas feel. It’s just great that we did this together and we’re going to grow as a nation together.”