Matildas coach has Football Australia backing

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Football Australia chief executive James Johnson remains confident that Tony Gustavsson is the right man to lead the Matildas.

Football Australia chief executive James Johnson has backed embattled coach Tony Gustavsson to guide the Matildas at next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.

However, Johnson wasn’t happy with the Matildas’ performances last month against Spain and Portugal, with the 7-0 loss to the Spaniards particularly disturbing.

In Brisbane to announce the Matildas would meet Tokyo Olympic gold medallists Canada at Suncorp Stadium on September 3, Johnson was full of support for Swede Gustavsson, who has tasted success at World Cup and Olympic Games levels as an assistant coach of the USA.

“When you appoint coaches you have to back them and you back a strategy,” Johnson said.

“You can’t look at (international) windows in isolation, you need to look at the whole cycle.

“Tony’s won World Cups, he’s won Olympics, he took us (Australia) to the most successful Olympic campaign (fourth place) that a senior national (Australian) team has had in football.

“Were we happy with the June window? No, we weren’t, but we see that as one window of a long cycle.

“Tony has for the full backing of Football Australia and we’re looking forward to the September window.

“We’re hoping that there’ll be some good results and good momentum leading into the women’s World Cup in 2023.”

To be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, next year’s women’s World Cup will leave a “legacy” for football, according to Johnson.

If successful, it could also lead to Australia bidding, perhaps again in conjunction with New Zealand, for the 2034 men’s World Cup.

“One day we should host a (men’s) World Cup,” Johnson said.

“The focus right now needs to be on delivering the best ever women’s World Cup, which I’m confident we will, and that will give us a lot of currency when it comes to bidding for a men’s World Cup.”

Originally published as Football Australia CEO James Johnson throws his support behind Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson


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