Celebrity News

How former Matilda Grace Gil continues to champion young women in football

Grace believes this tournament will be a turning point for women commentators.
Loading the player...

The FIFA Women’s World Cup is here – but can the Matildas live up to the public’s lofty expectations? Former Matildas star Grace Gill says amid all the football fever, the players themselves need to keep a cool head to have a shot at winning.

“When you’re in that high-pressure environment, there’s an expectation to perform,” Grace, 34, now part of Channel Seven’s World Cup commentary team, tells TV WEEK.

“Whether it’s at the Matildas’ level or a local level, having young women feel supported and integrated is important to making them comfortable to perform at their best.”

Grace believes this tournament will be a turning point for women commentators.

At the helm of Australia’s national team is Sam Kerr. Grace says the side couldn’t be in safer hands going into the prestigious tournament.

“Sam is one of the best-known athletes in Australia,” she says. “She puts a lot of pressure on herself because she wants to do well, but thrives on it. She’s absolutely the right person to be leading the team.”

Although Grace can’t predict how the Matildas will fare in the World Cup, she has little doubt it will be a great spectacle.

Grace played professionally for Canberra United in the W-League from 2008 to 2016.

“We can look at the statistics, previous results, the Matildas’ current form, who’s injured,” Grace says. “But ultimately, when it comes down to these major tournaments, anything can happen. Expect the unexpected, and it’s exciting to watch.”

With a diverse squad including the likes of Caitlin Foord – who’s been capped more than 100 times for Australia and plays for Arsenal in the Women’s Super League in the UK – and newcomer Clare Hunt, who was drafted into the Matildas only in the past six months, Grace is keen to see how they gel on the field.

“It will be great to see how all those different experience levels play in a well-balanced side,” she says.

Check guides for times. The FIFA World Cup airs on Channel Seven – kicking off on July 20.

Related stories