WORLD NEWS Matildas coach 'fully focussed' despite 'speculative reports'

Matildas coach ‘fully focussed’ despite ‘speculative reports’

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Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson has denied reports he interviewed for the vacant head coach position for the Swedish men’s national team.

According to Swedish newspaper Sportbladet, the Matildas coach is being considered as one of the top candidates to fill the role and met with the Swedish Football Association on “at least one occasion” while another is being planned.

The publications also said some of the members within the organisation “are working to get Gustavsson in”, with plans to fill the role before the team’s January tour.

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It is understood Gustavsson is one of three favourites to replace outgoing coach Janne Andersson, who was axed after his side finished third in Group F and failed to qualify for Euro 2024.

Gustavsson put himself on the map after leading the Matildas to fourth-place finishes at Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The Swede was heavily linked to the US women’s national team coaching role in August, however the position has since been filled by Chelsea manager Emma Hayes.

In a statement, Gustavsson dispelled rumours of a move to his homeland, re-stating his commitment to the Matildas as the team prepares for the Olympic Games Paris 2024.

“I’m passionate about the CommBank Matildas and, as I have stated before, I’m fully focused on qualification and participation at the Paris 2024 Olympics,” he said.

“Our team’s journey towards this goal is my primary focus and commitment.”

Football Australia (FA) also weighed in on the matter with Gustavsson contracted to the Matildas until after Paris 2024.

“We are aware of speculations about Tony Gustavsson and the Swedish men’s national team,” the governing body said in a statement.

“Football Australia, however, does not comment on speculative reports or our staff’s potential future engagements outside their current contract.”

“Gustavsson is currently under contract with Football Australia as the head coach of the CommBank Matildas, with his tenure extending until the Paris 2024 Olympics.

“Football Australia highly value his contribution to the team’s journey and achievements so far.”

FA stated conversations around possibly extending Gustavsson’s contract would be “held at an appropriate time in the future, adhering to our standard procedures”.

“Football Australia’s immediate priority is the strategic preparation to qualify and participate in the Paris 2024 Olympics,” the statement read.

The Matildas will cap their stellar year with two international friendlies against Canada. The first match is scheduled for Saturday, December 2 (AEDT).

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