- Fowler was one of the best Matildas
- Dominated against Iran and the Philippines
- One key difference highlights their confidence
A small detail shows how much Matildas striker Mary Fowler’s confidence has grown since the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The 20-year-old Manchester City star caused a stir during the World Cup when she featured in the absence of injured captain Sam Kerr.
In the Olympic qualifier against the Philippines on Saturday at the Optus Stadium in Perth, she needed just 15 minutes to get on the scoresheet in the Australians’ 8-0 win.
However, there was one crucial difference between the Mary Fowler of the World Championships and the one in Perth: this time she didn’t wear gloves.
It’s a major sign that the Cairns product – who is rumored to be secretly dating NRL star Nathan Cleary – is becoming increasingly confident on the field.
Fowler had a great game against Iran and backed it up with a 15th minute goal against the Philippines
As Fowler celebrated her goal with captain Sam Kerr, there was a clear difference between the way she took the pitch against the Philippines and her performance in World Cup matches
During the World Cup, she admitted to former Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer that she wore the gloves because she was nervous.
“I haven’t told anyone what the reason is – it’s a bit silly,” she said at the time.
“But honestly, I just wear gloves because I get really anxious. “I usually train with a ring on, but when it’s cold I wear gloves, and in a game I can’t wear a ring, so I usually wear gloves. “
Instead of gloves, Fowler wore a hair band on his left hand during the game against the Philippines.
Her gloves caused a lot of speculation among fans during the World Cup as they tried to figure out why she was wearing them. Many suspected that she did this for luck or superstition.
Now Fowler’s confidence and form look set to be rewarded with Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson ready to use her as a starter in the final qualifying game of the round against Taiwan.
During the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Fowler wore gloves, which she has since removed for the Matildas Olympic qualifiers
Fowler told former Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer (pictured) that the gloves were meant to help with nervousness and restlessness
Despite the fact that the weak Taiwanese are likely to be easy fodder for the Matildas, Gustavsson – who described Mary Fowler as “stunning” after her stunning display against Iran – is unlikely to give the players any rest.
He says he is keen to reward in-form players with a starting spot and also better prepare them to deal with a hectic schedule like the one he expects if they qualify for the Paris Olympics next year.
To qualify for the Olympics, Australia must win a home-and-away play-off against a yet-to-be-decided Asian confederation team.
“I said right away in the circle that they should be very proud of the achievement, but also that they have to be extremely professional in their recovery because this is also a rehearsal,” Gustavsson said.
“If you want to make it to the Olympics, the games at the Olympics are so close.” Just 48 hours to recover and then there’s another game.
“So we have to be extremely professional.”