The Matildas only play against Nigeria at the Women’s World Cup on Thursday evening. But that didn’t stop a national team player from trying to score a victory in the video game Fifa.
Defenseman Charlotte Grant spent part of last week in bed overcoming illness and jet lag as she was the last player to join the squad. But thanks to an Xbox gifted by teammate Ellie Carpenter, who has a sponsorship deal with Microsoft, Grant has time well spent.
I downloaded Fifa, which is the go-to at the moment, she said. I haven’t done the player mode yet, I went straight to the World Cup. We beat Ireland and Nigeria, so hopefully we can do that in real life.
With the weight of a nation on their shoulders, the Matildas take every opportunity to relax, and Xbox is just one form of distraction. Arts and crafts, table tennis and spending time with family members are among the activities that help the Matildas take their mind off the task at hand.
The Australian team is based in Brisbane for the Women’s World Cup, and the Matildas staff have spared no expense in adapting the hotel space. Walking into this hotel was so special to us, said defense attorney Alanna Kennedy. So many people have put so much work into making the space feel like home to us.
There is a special relaxation room with everything the players need to switch off. There are many different options for different people to have a little creative session, we have drawing and coloring for the youngsters, there’s a TV, there’s recovery stuff and yes, there’s a ping pong table, said veteran Aivi Luik.
It made the players feel right at home. Other individual touches include personalized name tags on their rooms and tired Tilly do not disturb signs. These are small details, but they just mean so much, Kennedy said.
Liege is Matildas’ table tennis champion, though she admits she’s faced stiff competition as the rivalry flares up at the team’s HQ.
Mary Fowler recently has been very good, she has a bad forehand, Liege said. Alex Chidiac is clearly very good, Wheels [Clare Wheeler] is very good. There are also quite a few staff.
Liège has been holding onto her crown for a while now. Almost four years ago, the Matildas wished her a happy birthday Instagram: A midfield magician, our queen of calm and ping pong master.