A closer look at our Cup of Nations opponents

The CommBank Matildas are set to face Czechia, Spain and Jamaica in the Cup of Nations early this year.

In what is an ideal springboard for Australia hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup on home soil this year, Tony Gustavsson’s side will get the chance to fine-tune their tournament preparations against three quality opponents.

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Let’s take a closer look at the challenge we’ll be facing when the Cup of Nations kicks off in February!

Czechia

FIFA World Rankings: 28

form

2022 has presented mixed fortunes for the Czechia side, kicking off last year with a 0-0 draw against the USA in the She Believes Cup.

During qualification for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup, the side fell just short of clinching a playoff spot, finishing in third place in their group.

Czechia starting line-up, team photo during the Women's International Friendly match between England and Czechia at American Express Community Stadium on October 10, 2022, in Brighton, England.  (Photo by David Horton - CameraSport via Getty Images)
Czechia starting line-up, team photo during the Women’s International Friendly match between England and Czechia at American Express Community Stadium on October 10, 2022, in Brighton, England. (Photo by David Horton – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Despite not qualifying for their inaugural tournament, the side recorded another 0-0 draw, this time holding newly crowned Euro Champions England to a draw.

Their year ended with a 2-1 win over Romania, with Andrea Stašková and Kateřina Svitková finding the back of the net in the victory.

Key players: Kateřina Svitková

A familiar face to WSL fans, Svitková plays alongside Sam Kerr at Chelsea, making the move from West Ham United this season.

The midfielder started her domestic career with Slavia Prague, where she scored an impressive 188 for the Czech-based side.

Kateřina Svitková of Czechia battles for possession with Demi Stokes of England during the International Friendly match between England and Czechia at American Express Community Stadium on October 11, 2022, in Brighton, England.  (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Kateřina Svitková of Czechia battles for possession with Demi Stokes of England during the International Friendly match between England and Czechia at American Express Community Stadium on October 11, 2022, in Brighton, England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Svitková made her national team debut at just 17 years old and has scored more than 30 goals.

Coach: Karel Rada

Rada is a former professional footballer, representing his country for over 7 years in the national team and helping his side to a silver medal in the 1996 UEFA European Football Championship.

Last time we met: Australia 6-2 Czechia, 2015 Cyprus Cup

Spain

FIFA World Rankings: 7

form

The La Roja qualified for their third consecutive FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2022, finishing at the top of their group.

An injury to star player Alexia Putellas in the days leading up to the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 saw a quarter-final exit to eventual winners England in a 2-1 defeat.

Spain poses for a group picture before the start of the women's international friendly football match between Spain and the USA at El Sadar stadium in Pamplona on October 11, 2022. (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA / AFP) (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images)
Spain poses for a group picture before the start of the women’s international friendly football match between Spain and the USA at El Sadar stadium in Pamplona on October 11, 2022. (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA / AFP) (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images)

2022 saw Spain end the year with three wins in their last friends, beating the USA, Argentina and Japan to wrap up the year.

Key Players: Esther Gonzalez

González has been a regular face in the side since 2016, scoring 20 goals in 30 national team appearances for Spain, her most recent goal in a 2-0 win over the USA in October 2022.

Esther Gonzalez of Spain celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Women's International Friendly match between Spain and USA at El Sadar Stadium on October 11, 2022 in Pamplona, ​​Spain.  (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)
Esther González of Spain celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the Women’s International Friendly match between Spain and USA at El Sadar Stadium on October 11, 2022, in Pamplona, ​​Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

The striker has plied her trade in the domestic league in Spain, making the move last season to Real Madrid and helping them to a third-place finish in the league.

Coach: Jorge Vilda

Taking the reins back in 2015, Vilda has been a coach of the youth-level national teams prior to taking over the senior national team.

Last time we met: Spain 7-0 Australia, 2022, International Friendly

Jamaica

FIFA World Rankings: 44

form

The Reggae Girlz qualified for their second consecutive FIFA Women’s World Cup after finishing third in the 2022 CONCACAF W Championship.

Jamaica recorded wins over Haiti and Mexico in the group stage to ensure a second-place finish in the group to book their spot in their second major tournament.

Players of Jamaica pose prior to the third place match between Costa Rica and Jamaica as part of the 2022 Concacaf W Championship at BBVA Stadium on July 18, 2022 in Monterrey, Mexico.  (Photo by Jaime Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images)
Players of Jamaica pose prior to the third-place match between Costa Rica and Jamaica as part of the 2022 Concacaf W Championship at BBVA Stadium on July 18, 2022, in Monterrey, Mexico. (Photo by Jaime Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images)

The side finished 2022 with mixed fortunes, recording a win and a loss against Paraguay in their final games of the year.

Key Players: Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw

Shaw burst onto the scene during the qualifying for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019, helping her side become the first Caribbean nation to ever qualify for a Women’s World Cup.

Khadija Shaw (R) of Jamaica during the third-place match between Costa Rica and Jamaica as part of the 2022 Concacaf W Championship at BBVA Stadium on July 18, 2022, in Monterrey, Mexico.  (Photo by Jaime Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images)
Khadija Shaw (R) of Jamaica during the third-place match between Costa Rica and Jamaica as part of the 2022 Concacaf W Championship at BBVA Stadium on July 18, 2022, in Monterrey, Mexico. (Photo by Jaime Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images)

The striker, who captains the side, leads the team with 56 goals in 38 appearances for the national team, seeing her make the move to the WSL and sign with Manchester City, playing alongside a trio of Australians.

Coach: Lorne Donaldson

In June 2022, Donaldson was named Head Coach helping lead Jamaica to their second consecutive World Cup.

Last time we met: Jamaica 1-4 Australia, 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Group Stage

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