A former Australia striker, Ante Milicic was appointed Matildas coach in February 2019. Milicic, who also acted as assistant coach for the Socceroos at the 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cups™, succeeded Alen Stajcic, who had led Australia through the France 2019 qualifiers.
Australia entered the April 2017 AFC Women’s Asian Cup in superb form. They dominated an opening scoreless draw against Korea Republic, before an 8-0 rout of Vietnam. A 1-1 draw in their final group match against Japan was enough to book their passage to France. They edged past Thailand on penalties in the semi-finals, but were unable to reprise their 2010 continental win after losing 1-0 to Japan in the final.
Shortlisted for The Best FIFA Women’s Player in 2018, Kerr completed the previous NWSL and W-League seasons as top scorer. An all-round attacking threat, Kerr scored in a record seven consecutive Matildas matches during 2017/18.