It’s been an incredibly memorable World Cup for the Matildas.
Tony Gustavsson’s side went on to secure a fourth-place finish, the nation’s best performance at a men’s or women’s World Cup.
There were several standout performers across the seven games played in the month-long festival of football as the nation was introduced to a number of new sporting heroes.
Foxsports.com.au takes a look at how every player performed across the tournament in the final World Cup Player Ratings!
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SPAIN CROWNED 2023 WORLD CUP CHAMPIONS | 00:52
Mackenzie Arnold – 8.5, 5, 7, 7, 10, 6, 7 (ratings from each game; average rating 7.2)
Arnold has come so far in the space of 12 months that it’s almost hard to fathom.
A year ago she was the Matildas’ third-choice keeper, behind Lydia Williams and Teagan Micah.
But she was given another chance and this time grabbed it with both hands – like she grabbed shot after shot out of the air!
The highlight was her penalty heroics against France, which capped off one of the finest Australian goalkeeping performances of all time.
Consistent from the first minute to the last, Arnold rescued the Matildas more times than we’d like to recount and played a crucial role in racking up the clean sheets.
OUR RATING: 8
Steph Catley – 7, 5, 9, 7, 7, 4.5, 5.5 (Average rating 6.4)
The vice-captain has always been well-regarded for her leadership qualities.
But with Sam Kerr missing, she donned the armband for the first three group games and led the Aussies with fire and ice in equal measure.
Kerr labelled her a ‘born leader’ and said the pair ‘share’ the captaincy – and while Kerr might take most of the attention, Catley was an unsung hero of the tournament.
She scored Australia’s first goal of the Cup from the penalty spot to get past Ireland and added another from the 12-yard dot against Canada.
Catley’s almost telepathic connection with Gunners teammate Caitlin Foord was a joy to watch down the left flank.
OUR RATING: 7
Clare Hunt – 7.5, 5.5, 7.5, 8, 9, 5.5, 6.5 (Average rating 7)
Hunt only debuted in February – yep, seriously – but has cemented herself at the heart of the Australian defence with a string of calm, composed performances.
At just 24, she’s the captain of the Western Sydney Wanderers and has twice won their player of the year medal.
Now she’s destined for a move overseas after a World Cup where she was one of the standout defenders of the tournament.
Only a sensational fingertip save denied Hunt from striking the winning penalty against France (not that it mattered in the end), but she didn’t need that moment to shine in a brilliant maiden World Cup campaign.
There were plenty of highlights as she stifled attack after attack, but her standout performance came against France when she completely shut down striker Kadidiatou Diani, who boasts four goals and three assists – the most goal involvements this tournament.
She capped it off against England by making the tackle that sparked the attack for Sam Kerr’s stunner – a little-noticed involvement in an iconic moment in Australian history.
The only lowlight on a very consistent run of performances was when she gave away penalty in the third-place playoff.
OUR RATING: 7.5
Alanna Kennedy – 8, 5.5, 7, 8, 6 (Average rating 6.9)
Kennedy has had her fair share of central defensive partners in her century of Matildas appearances, but her stellar combination with Hunt laid the foundation for an impenetrable Australian defence that was key to the team’s record-breaking performance.
Kennedy’s passing range, vision in defence, and aerial prowess was exceptional.
There was one lowlight – a sloppy back-pass against Nigeria that handed them a goal – but she scored one of her own in that game, and her other performances more than made up for it.
Missed the England and Sweden games with delayed concussion symptoms, and her absence was sorely felt.
After an injury-riddled couple of years she’s described with expletives, it was wonderful to see Kennedy back to her best.
One stat sums it up: no player made more clearances this tournament.
OUR RATING: 7
Ellie Carpenter – 6, 4.5, 7.5, 6.5, 7, 3.5, 6 (Average rating 5.9)
Simply making the World Cup squad was a big moment in itself for Carpenter given she tore her ACL in the 2022 Champions League final playing for club side Lyon.
It is a valid reason as to why Carpenter wasn’t exactly at her brilliant best at the World Cup.
Part of it was tactical, given she and Hayley Raso both like to hug the touchline on the right flank, meaning Carpenter’s barnstorming runs didn’t quite have the same impact.
Carpenter’s performance against Canada was by far her best of the tournament and reminded the nation why she has been a mainstay in the Matildas set up since she was a teenager.
But her costly error against England in the semi final sadly took some shine off her overall display.
OUR RATING: 6
Cortnee Vine – 5, 4.5, 6, 5, 7, 5, 5 (Average rating 5.4)
One of only two Australian-based players in the squad (Hunt being the other), Vine had flashes of brilliance but was unable to show her dazzling best consistently enough.
That was due in large part to playing on the left flank instead of her preferred right side.
She started the first two games – both very tough affairs, particularly Nigeria where their low defensive block meant she didn’t get much room to run behind the defence.
When she came off the bench in the later games, she had a bigger impact and caused plenty of headaches.
Fast and skilful on the counter-attack, if Australia continues to play with that approach then Vine looms as a valuable contributor and a natural long-term successor to Raso and Foord.
OUR RATING: 5.5
Kyra Cooney-Cross – 6.5, 5, 7, 8.5, 8, 6, 6.5 (Average rating 6.8)
Any time you’re singled out for praise from a Premier League legend like Ian Wright, you’re clearly doing something correctly.
Cooney-Cross enjoyed a tremendous World Cup debut alongside Gorry in the midfield and although she took a bit of time to find her feet, she was one of the unsung heroes in the Matildas campaign.
She defied her 21 years of age with mature and composed performances that have no doubt sparked a frenzy of overseas clubs clamouring to sign her.
Whether it was her quick bursts to evade a marker, twisting out of danger before delivering a delightful switch of play or making a key tackle, Cooney-Cross did it all.
She also finished with a pass completion rate of 76.5 per cent from 302 attempted which places her as one of the highest in the team, an impressive accomplishment given how much she played.
Much like a number of her teammates, the lengthy minutes eventually caught up to her in the end.
OUR RATING: 7
Katrina Gorry – 9, 6.5, 8, 8, 8, 6.5, 5.5 (Average rating 7.4)
Her nickname might be ‘Mini’, but Gorry was a giant of this World Cup run.
In the Australian team, no one made more tackles, interceptions, or ball recoveries, while she ranked second in chances created (behind van Egmond) and successful passes (Hunt).
She seemed to be everywhere in the midfield, constantly harrying the opposition into making mistakes.
Gorry assisted Sam Kerr’s wonder-goal against England, and her exceptional passing and control in tight spaces was a highlight throughout the tournament.
None stood taller.
OUR RATING: 8
Hayley Raso – 7.5, 5.5, 9.5, 9, 8, 5.5, 6 (Average rating 7.3)
It’s no surprise that replicas of her iconic ribbon sold out during the tournament (and if you didn’t know, her grandmother first bought them for her as a way to keep track of her in junior games!)
From the first game, Raso proved she would never back away from a battle and would run tirelessly up and down the right flank.
Her double in the 4-0 win against Canada was by far her best display and she was crucial in the Matildas’ wins over Denmark and France.
Perhaps the only negative spot in Raso’s tournament was her lack of an effective link-up with right back Ellie Carpenter and at times her final ball could have been a little better.
But the winger can take pride in the fact she was one of the Matildas’ best and scored the most goals for the team at the tournament with three.
Expect to see thousands of young girls running around with ribbons in their hair for years to come!
OUR RATING: 7.5
Caitlin Foord – 6, 6, 9, 10, 8, 4, 5 (Average rating 6.8)
With Kerr ruled out of the first two games, Foord had to play as a lone striker in what was a departure from her usual role for club and country.
Although she battled hard to win the ball and score, it just never quite clicked.
But a tactical masterstroke from Gustavsson to put Foord on the left against Canada sparked a dazzling run of form for the Arsenal forward as she reprised her link-up with club teammate Catley.
She bagged two assists but scored one of the best goals of the Matildas’ campaign against Denmark, latching onto a perfect pass from Fowler before she did the rest.
Once Kerr returned, Foord’s impact seemingly diminished despite being reunited with her regular national team strike partner.
OUR RATING: 7
Mary Fowler – 6, N/A, 8.5, 9.5, 9, 5, 6 (Average rating 7.3)
The future of the Matildas are in very, very safe hands with Mary Fowler.
She was thrown into the starting line-up against Ireland after Kerr was ruled out but never quite found her feet before being ruled out of the Nigeria game due to concussion.
But once Fowler returned, she was one of the Matildas’ best.
The silky midfielder was deployed as a false nine against Canada and Denmark but it was a role she seemed to thrive in.
Fowler’s effortless ability to glide past defenders had fans up on their feet and will be a star of this team for years to come. She picked up pockets of space between the midfield and defensive lines and exposed defences with her exceptional skill on the ball.
Her performance against France was incredible, delivering everything but a deserved goal – though she was only denied by one of the best goal-saving blocks of the tournament.
She did find it harder to get into games when Kerr returned, but it was a highly impressive World Cup debut from the 20-year-old nonetheless.
As she grows and becomes more experienced and battle-hardened at the elite level – she is currently playing for Manchester City – expect her to reach even greater heights.
OUR RATING: 8
Emily van Egmond – 5, 7.5, 7, 8.5, 7, 5, 5 (Average rating 6.4)
OUR RATING: 6.5
When van Egmond is on the ball, the game looks like it takes place in slow motion. She even runs like that, gliding her towering frame across the park so smoothly. On the ball, her composure and calm head is remarkable. Normally a midfielder, she was thrown into a false-nine role in Sam Kerr absence and following Mary Fowler’s concussion, playing as a target for long balls. She held the ball up brilliantly to get her teammates involved in counterattacking play, while the way she led the defensive press from the top of the field was also commendable.
She may have gone under the radar due to playing out of position and doing a lot of her best work off the ball, but it was the kind of selfless and hardworking performance we’ve come to expect from a veteran cog of the team.
Sam Kerr – 6, 8, 6.5, 5 (Average rating 6.4)
OUR RATING: 7
This tournament might feel like a great what if for Kerr, the Aussie captain and talisman of the team. After years without a major injury, this tournament must have been heartbreaking for her to be stuck on the sidelines in the opening stages. But she was a fantastic leader and supporter of her teammates while stricken down by the troublesome calf – doing anything and everything for her team, even carrying water bottles during games.
When she returned to the field, she was clearly far from full fitness but still delivered moments of magic, especially her iconic long-range strike against England.
She pushed herself to the limit physically and mentally, and it showed when she missed a couple of chances late in the game against England that you would expect her to take.
But on and off the field, from her interviews to the way she lifted her teammates when she got on the field, Kerr was the true leader that we know and love.
Clare Polkinghorne – 6, 6, 6.5, 4, 5 (Average rating 5.5)
A veteran of five World Cups, Polkinghorne brought plenty of experience and physicality to the Matildas at their home World Cup.
She was used predominantly from the bench for her first three appearances, helping to see out games and ensure the result wouldn’t change.
But Polkinghorne was catapulted into the starting line-up for the final two games due to Kennedy dropping out with concussion – and given her injury history over the last year or so, it was a stern test.
She wasn’t quite at her best and struggled at times with the speed of fleet-footed opponents, but the 34-year-old was a steady presence at the back and did everything she could.
But if this is to be her last World Cup, which is likely to be the case, ‘Polks’ can feel proud to have played a key role for the team both on and off the field.
OUR RATING: 5.5
Alex Chidiac – 6.5, 5 (Average rating 5.75)
Fan favourite Chidiac didn’t log as many minutes as she would have hoped in this tournament, but she gave a timely reminder of her qualities in a cameo against Nigeria.
Chidiac’s brief spell left many fans wondering why Gustavsson didn’t bring her on earlier against Nigeria, although the Swedish coach described her as the “game-changer” he wanted.
She also had a spell of the bench against Sweden but never seemed to have a proper role in the third place playoff.
At 24, she’ll be hoping for a greater role in the future after her opportunities were severely limited.
OUR RATING: 5
Tameka Yallop – N/A, 6 (Average rating 6)
Yallop was on the field twice during the World Cup, coming on as a late sub against Denmark and against France.
Although she had little impact against the Danes, Yallop played a crucial role in the lengthy penalty shootout against France when she slotted home from the spot in the sudden death stage.
OUR RATING: 5.5
Charlotte Grant – N/A (Average rating N/A)
Grant’s only appearance came towards the end of the Matildas’ 4-0 win over Canada when she came on at right midfield deep in stoppage time. The youngster is an exceptional talent at fullback and played a key role in the last two years when first Ellie Carpenter then Steph Catley were injured, and she was unlucky to not have a bigger role in this tournament.
At 21, year future is bright.
OUR RATING: 5
Courtney Nevin – 5 (Average rating 5)
Nevin logged just 17 minutes of action after coming on as a sub in Australia’s final game against Sweden.
Ultimately didn’t make much of an impact in the contest, but is another 21-year-old who looks set to be a major part of the team in the future.
OUR RATING: 5
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