There are 6 key players to watch during tonight's Australia vs England game.

The Matildas are playing England's Lionesses this Wednesday and WE CANNOT WAIT. Seriously. 

As we gear up for the big Semi Final of the FIFA Women's World Cup down under, we've been getting to know our Aussie team and the British players. And just like with any industry, there are plenty of links, connections and relationships in the world of elite football.

What that means for many of the Matildas is that on Wednesday night, they will be going up against their friends, as well as current and former teammates. And there are six players, in particular, to watch out for. 

Matildas: The World At Our Feet official trailer. Post continues below. 

Video via Disney+.

Sam Kerr vs Millie Bright.

Interestingly, more than a third of the Matildas squad play their club football in England, which means that many of their Lionesses opponents will be very familiar to them.

Take, for example, Matildas star Sam Kerr and England's Millie Bright.

Both are the captains of their respective national teams. 

They'll be on opposing sides on Wednesday night, despite the good mates usually playing for English club Chelsea in the Women's Super League.


The Lionesses' Bright, who's been a staple team member during this summer's tournament in Australia, is a defender for the team, which means she'll be up against Kerr quite a lot on the field, given Kerr's position as striker.

But a little friendly rivalry on the field might not be a bad thing. In fact, one of Kerr's other Chelsea teammates said she's keen to interact with the Aussie soccer star as a competitor this time around.

"I've been looking forward to playing against her for a very long time. You kind of know each other's moves... It's like kind of cat and mouse. So, it is fun."


Alanna Kennedy vs Lauren Hemp.

The club of Manchester City will be doubly represented on the field on Wednesday night, too.

Australia's superstar central defender Alanna Kennedy plays with this English team as part of the Women's Super League, as does the Matildas' Mary Fowler. The pair will now be playing against a bunch of their usual Manchester City teammates in the Women's World Cup.

Kennedy, in particular, will be facing off against her Manchester City teammate Lauren Hemp, who plays in the forward position.

Throughout the Women's World Cup, Hemp has scored a number of goals for England – and Kennedy will certainly be hoping the same scenario doesn't happen during Wednesday's match!

Alanna Kennedy and Lauren Hemp. Image: Getty.


Caitlin Foord vs Alessia Russo.

The third pairing to keep an eye on is Australia's Caitlin Foord and her English counterpart, Alessia Russo, who both play for English club Arsenal as forwards.

Both of the women are strikers/forwards, which means they'll both be gunning to score some goals for their respective national teams.

Recently, Russo has managed to score some kick-ass goals during the Women's World Cup, and she is a joint-favourite (along with Kerr) to score goals in Wednesday's match.

But since Kerr has been dealing with injury throughout much of this tournament, it's been Foord doing a lot of the attacking for the Matildas – and doing a brilliant job of it, too.

As her teammate Alanna Kennedy said, "[Foord] lit it up. She's incredible. She's one of the best players in the world at the moment."


It will be interesting to see who takes home the most goals between the two star forwards!

Caitlin Foord and Alessia Russo. Image: Instagram.

While we're keeping a close eye on these particular pairings during Wednesday night's game, many of the players have encountered friends on the field as rivals at some point in their careers. For Matildas' Lydia Williams, playing against people you are friendly with outside of the Women's World Cup is an interesting experience. Particularly when you know what each other's strengths and weaknesses are.


"We play against them, we know what (their) tendencies are, versing them week in, week out and watching them," Williams said. "So it's more of a chess match and how you get the better of each other. At the end of the day, you want to do the best for your country and I think the friend part we'll probably put to put to bed for a little bit."

This isn't the first time the Matildas have played the Lionesses. Overall, the teams have had six games together – the Matildas losing three, winning two and drawing one. 

And despite the multiple crossovers between them, they insist there aren't any rivalries.

"I think obviously you see it in a lot of men's competition, especially in cricket and rugby," said Williams.

"But for us, we've had so many rivalries with other countries that we've played against. We've played against Brazil at every other World Cup [in the recent era]. You could say that about America, you could say that about so many other countries. So really for us, it's just a game."

Interestingly, another Matildas player said it isn't the Lionesses that are their usual rivals, but the Kiwi team.

"I think the biggest international rivalry is probably New Zealand still. That's always been our 'we cannot lose to them and we will not lose to them'. I think [playing the Lionesses] is just another game. It's a significant game, obviously, we're in the semi-final, but it's just another opponent for us."


Meanwhile, the Lionesses won't be fazed by a hostile crowd!

Just this past weekend, we saw the Lionesses play against Colombia (at the same time the Matildas were playing in that iconic match against France) with the majority of supporters cheering for the Colombian team.

But the Lionesses head coach has said the British team thrives off the crowd – regardless of whether or not they're on their side. And, let's be honest, it's very likely at Wednesday's game that Aussie fans will be in the majority!

"Australia, bring it on! As a group, we thrived off the amount of Colombian fans. It just makes it so much more exciting so for me I can't wait to get going," the team's coach said at a press conference. 

"It's another test but one that’s exciting – not only to face the hosts but also to be in the World Cup semi-finals and to keep the dream alive."

To catch up on all things Matildas and the 2023 Women's World Cup, check out our hub page here.

This article was originally published on August 15, and has since been updated with new information.

Feature Image: Getty.

Love watching TV and movies? Take our survey now to go in the running to win a $100 gift voucher.