The Ashes, Marmite vs Vegemite, Roses vs Diamonds and Sandpaper vs Murray Mints.
Australia and England, traditional rivals extending far beyond the sporting landscape, utterly entrenched in history.
This Wednesday night will see the birth of the next greatest rivalry between the two fierce nations.
A crowd of more than 80,000 people are anticipated to pack into Stadium Australia, with over a quarter of the nation expected to tune in to watch the Matildas vs the Lionesses.
The Matildas set out before the tournament to create change, but this wave of excitement and unity across the nation is truly something far beyond what anyone could have imagined.
Viewing numbers of the Matildas vs France quarter-final reported the biggest television audience for a sporting event in over two decades. Seven’s “preliminary data” shows that 4.17 million people watched the epic battle on Saturday night.
These figures do not take into account the thousands of people crammed into pubs, clubs, and public parks to cheer on their national side on the world’s biggest stage.
England Manager, Sarina Wiegman, a trailblazer for many in women’s football, starred for the Netherlands as a player – becoming the first Dutch footballer to reach 100 caps. Since then, her coaching career has been legendary, becoming the first female to coach at a Dutch professional football organisation.
As great as her accomplishments are, Wiegman is somewhat unaware of the heated rivalry between the two nations.
“I’ve had a couple of questions about that, so it’s probably going to be bigger than I imagined now. I’ll talk to my players and staff and see what that rivalry is”, Wiegman said.
The captivating semi-final between the two sides on Wednesday night will see plenty of matchups between teammates at club level.
Australian captain Sam Kerr looks certain to, at some stage, line up directly opposed to her Chelsea teammate, Millie Bright. Whether Kerr starts or not remains a mystery. Kerr has shown no sign of the calf injury that kept her out of the group stage in her last two performances as a substitute.
Australia’s Arsenal contingent of Steph Catley and Caitlin Foord will be up against fellow ‘Gunners’ teammates, Lotte Wubben-Moy and Alessia Russo.
The Matildas Manchester City stars Mary Fowler and Alanna Kennedy could be facing up to five of their teammates from the Lionesses’ squad.
The Lionesses lead the head-to-head battle between the two sides 3-2 with one draw, however, in their most recent encounter, it was the Matildas who ended the 30-game undefeated run of the Lionesses with a 2-0 victory in April at Brentford.
Win or lose, this is only the beginning of the legacy that this Matildas side will leave.
The Matildas will go into the game as underdogs, but they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Dare to dream, Australia.
Where to watch:
Australia v England
Date: Wednesday, 16 August 2023
Venue: Stadium Australia, Sydney
Pre-Game: 7:00pm (AEST)
Kick-Off: 8:00 pm (AEST)
Odds – Brought to you by NEDS
England – $1.67
Australia – $2.20