FFA has announced its Teams of the Decades, to commemorate 50 years as a FIFA member. Here is the Women's Team of the Decade 1990-99.
The 1990s heralded a new era of women-s football in Australia, with a generation of fitter, skilful, mobile players, many coming from the program at the Australian Institute of Sport, competing for Australia. Many players in this era began their international careers in the late 1980s bringing a wealth of experience to the side now facing an expanded international program.
Once called ‘the female Socceroos-, the national team was officially nicknamed the Matildas in 1995. In this decade players brought back to the Matildas valuable experience gained by playing for overseas semi-professional clubs in Europe and the USA. Following the pilot World Cup in China in 1988, three World Cups were held in this era, Australia played in the qualifiers for the first World Cup in 1991, and the 1995 World Cup in Sweden and 1999 World Cup in USA. By 1995 the Matildas clocked up 100 games.
Coaches from this era included Tom Sermanni (World Cup 1995), and Manchester-born former Socceroo Greg Brown coached the national women-s team from 1997, in the 1998 World Cup qualifiers, and in the 1999 World Cup where Australia drew 1-1 with Ghana and lost matches to Sweden and China. Chris Tanzey coached the team following a disappointing showing at 1999 World Cup. Angela Iannotta scored Australia-s first ever World Cup goal in 1995 against opponents China. Cheryl Salisbury-s long career spanned this era, but she rightly appears in next decade.
Australian coaches usually played a 4-3-3 formation, but many of the midfielders possessed genuine shooting ability, able to support the forward line when tight marking and experienced oppositions denied those players the ball. Not yet fully recompensed for their football skills, nevertheless professionalisation of administration in this era saw national players no longer called upon to pay their own way to overseas tournaments.
Greg Brown (Coach) Born: 21 February 1962, Manchester, England Clubs coached: Napier City Rovers (NZ), Parramatta Eagles, West Adelaide Manchester-born Greg Brown played semi-professionally in the United Kingdom before he joined New Zealand club Napier City Rovers in 1985. After playing for the New Zealand B team he moved to Australia and played for several clubs in New South Wales and South Australia. He was picked for the Australian squad in 1991 and made 12 appearances as a Socceroo. On retirement as a player he began coaching at the Mitchelton club in Brisbane and was appointed coach of the Matildas from November 1997 to March 1999. Under his guidance the Matildas qualified for the 1999 World Cup held in the USA, but a first round draw with Ghana and losses to Sweden and China ended his Matildas coaching. In reality, despite some strong performances, Australia did not win a World Cup game in this era, a result likely to lead to coaching turnover.
Alison Forman (Captain) Position: Defender Born: 17 March 1969, Maitland Clubs: Raymond Terrace, Adamstown, Northern NSW Pride, Fortuna Hjorring (Denmark) Defender Alison Forman from New South Wales was first selected for Australia in the 1989 tour of Japan. A tough and reliable defender and a leader on the field from the backline, her 13-year long career included two World Cups (1995 and 1999) and the 2000 Olympic Games. She started in all of Australia-s matches in the 1995 World Cup in Sweden, the 1999 World Cup in the USA, and all three games in the 2000 Olympic Games in Australia. Joining the Matildas from her base with the Danish Club Fortuna Hjorring, she played 95 internationals and scored seven goals during her career. In 2012 she was inducted into the FFA Hall of Fame.
Tracey Wheeler Position: Goalkeeper Born: 26 September 1967, Sydney Clubs: Wenty Waratahs, Melita Eagles, Morley Windmills, Forrestfield United, Fremantle United, SASI Pirates, Murdoch University Sydney-born Tracey Wheeler represented Western Australia as a midfielder at state level before switching to goalkeeping. Tall and strong she made her international goalkeeping debut against New Zealand in the third Oceania Cup in 1989. Strong in the air, she also had great timing and footwork. She played the 1991 World Cup qualifiers and played all three matches in the 1995 World Cup, and one in the 1999 World Cup. She played in all three games at the 2000 Olympics. In all she played 55 internationals for Australia. She was inducted into the FFA Hall of Fame in 2008.
Sharon Black Postion: Forward / Midfielder Born: 4 April 1971, Adelaide Clubs: Birkalla, Sturt Marion, SASI Pirates, Fortuna Hjorring (Denmark), Adelaide United Striker and later midfielder Sharon Black from South Australia, began her international career with a tour to New Zealand in 1991. A composed player up front, she had the ability to link the midfield with the forward line. She proved ruthless in the 1998 World Cup Oceania qualifiers scoring prolifically against minnows American Samoa (4 goals), Papua New Guinea and Fiji (hat-trick against each). Her accurate long-range free kicks troubled many opposition keepers. She played in two of Australia-s three games in the 1999 World Cup, and two games in the 2000 Olympics continuing her international career until 2002. In all she played 62 games for Australia.
Julie Murray Position: Forward Born: 28 April 1970, Adelaide Clubs: Weston Creek, NSW Sapphires, Fortuna Hjorring (Denmark), Sydney Olympic, San Jose CyberRays (USA) Striker Julie Murray, representing the ACT, had first been selected for Australia during the 1980s playing as a 15-year-old in the 1986 second Oceania Cup and gaining valuable experience in this decade in tournaments in Taiwan, China, and Japan. Not tall, she possessed the ability and timing to jump making her a dangerous player in the air. She was mobile, determined, had outstanding technical skills with both feet and a great finish. She was calm in front of goal and a move from the midfield to striker saw her create and score a career total of 19 goals for Australia, many in crucial situations including the 1994 World Cup qualifier against New Zealand which Australia won 1-0. She scored in two of the three 1999 World Cup games. She captained the Matildas on numerous occasions. In all she played in 87 matches, including the 1995 and 1999 World Cups and one game in the 2000 Olympic Games. She was inducted into the FFA Hall of Fame in 2008.
Sunni Hughes Position: Forward Born: 9 June 1968, Newcastle Clubs: Toronto Awaba, Adamstown, Furtuna Hjorring (Denmark), Matsushita Bambina (Japan), Hunter Region, Northern NSW Pride Winger Linda ‘Sunni- Hughes from Northern New South Wales first represented Australia in the third Oceania Cup in 1989. A speedy, agile forward she scored over 20 goals in this decade for Australia in a ten year career in the forwards. She played in the 1991 World Cup qualifiers scoring six goals in two matches against Papua New Guinea. She represented Australia in the 1992 World Cup qualifiers scoring a further two goals against Papua New Guinea, and during the first game of Australia-s first participation in the World Cup in 1995 scored Australia-s second goal in the 4-2 loss to China. Teaming successfully with co-striker Murray, she played 78 internationals including all three matches in the 1995 World Cup. against China in the 1999 World Cup, and in the 2000 Olympic Games when she scored in Australia-s 1-2 loss to Brazil.
Carol Vinson Position: Midfielder / Forward Born: New South Wales Midfielder and striker Carol Vinson from New South Wales, was a player who bridged the decades bringing experience and focus into the 1990s. A fast, determined and tenacious player, she scored against Thailand in Australia-s 1988 tour of China, and captained Australia in the third Oceania Cup in 1989 and again on a tour to Japan. Her greatest moment came in the 1991 World Cup qualifiers when she scored an incredible six goals against Papua New Guinea. In all she played 19 games and scored 12 goals for Australia, including 13 A international appearances.
Moya Dodd Position: Midfielder Born: 30 April 1965, Adelaide Clubs: Adelaide University, Sydney Olympic South Australian Moya Dodd was another player who brought great experience to the midfield in this era. A dependable, effective and hardworking player, she served as the general in the linking midfielder role, orchestrating Australia-s attacking and defensive moves. Although a diminutive player she was able to control the game in the air. She first played for Australia in the 1986 second Oceania Cup, following this with the 1989 third Oceania Cup. She played in the 1991 World Cup qualifiers, scoring a goal in Australia-s 1-0 win over New Zealand. In all she played 20 internationals for Australia. She was co-opted to the FIFA Executive in 2013, following several years as a member of the Board of FFA and being the first woman elected to the Executive Committee of the Asian Football Confederation.
Lisa Casagrande Position: Midfielder Born: 29 May 1978, Lismore Clubs: Goonellabah, Weston Creek, Canberra Eclipse, Portland (USA) Versatile attacking midfielder Lisa Casagrande from Northern New South Wales was first selected for Australia in a game against Japan at the age of 14 in 1994. In 1995 she scored in Australia-s 3-2 win against Brazil. She represented Australia in the 1995 World Cup, scoring in Australia-s 1-4 loss to USA. A skilful player, she scored regularly in the mid-1990s for Australia against sides like South Korea, Canada, and Netherlands. She bagged four goals during the 1998 World Cup qualifying matches, and one goal in pre-World Cup matches against Canada. During the 1999 Algarve Cup in Portugal she became the youngest player (at 20) to be awarded 50 Australian caps and played in all 1999 World Cups games. She also played at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and by the time of her early retirement two years later at age 22 she had played 64 games for the Matildas.
Traci Bartlett Position: Defender Born: 17 May 1972 Clubs: Marconi, Canberra Eclipse, Queensland Sting All-rounder and defender Traci Bartlett from Queensland joined the Australian side in 1991 for matches against Swedish club team Malmo and later that year in the World Cup qualifiers where she scored her first goal against Papua New Guinea. Possessing great technique, her tackling style showed perfect timing. Always valued for her cover defence, in this decade she played in the 1999 World Cup qualifiers and other matches leading into the World Cup. Missing the 2000 Olympics, she returned to the national team in 2001. In all she played 64 internationals for Australia.
Anissa Tann Position: Defender Born: 10 October 1967,Sydney Clubs: St George, Melita Eagles, Marconi, Sutherland, NSW Sapphires Valuable both as an attacking midfield/striker and later in defence, Anissa Tann from New South Wales began her international career when she toured China in 1988. A dogged player, with great positioning she also captained Australia on several occasions including the 1991 tour to New Zealand. Tann was a stalwart of the Australian side in the lead up to the 1995 and 1999 World Cups. She took part in both 1995 and 1999 World Cups, and in all three games at the Sydney Olympics of 2000. In all she made a massive 123 appearances for Australia (including 102 A internationals) between 1988 and 2002, scoring eight goals. She was the first Australian player (female or male) to reach 100 caps. She was elected to the FFA Hall of Fame in 2007.
Sonia Gegenhuber Position: Defender Born: 28 September 1970 Clubs: Coalstars, Queensland Sting Sonia Gegenhuber from South Australia first joined the Australian backline during the 1989 tour of Japan. An athletic defender and good communicator, she was skilful in the air and had the ability to overlap with the midfield making incisive runs forward. During the 1995 World Cup she earned a red card against Denmark, missed the match against China and returned to the team to play USA. She reached 50 caps for Australia in the 1998 pre-World Cup qualifiers against North Korea playing the leads up games to the 1999 World Cup. In all she represented Australia in 75 international matches.
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