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Simon and Williams called up to Matildas Squad for FIFA Women's World Cup 2023

Emma Ruben -

Goalkeeper Lydia Williams and striker Kyah Simon have been called up to the Matildas 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup squad.

Football Australia and CommBank Matildas' head coach Tony Gustavsson announced the 23 Australian players playing in this year's FIFA Women's World Cup on Monday.

The final squad list includes two Indigenous players, the surprise inclusion of Anaiwan and Biripi striker Kyah Simon, and veteran Noongar goalkeeper Lydia Williams.

The Matildas will be led by Chelsea player and forward Sam Kerr who is captaining her fourth FIFA Women's World Cup.

Fifteen players selected for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup campaign have been included in the 2023 squad.

Gustavsson said the seven players who will make their FIFA Women's World Cup debut have been "bloodied through a really hard opposition" in preparation for the tournament.

Williams's and Clare Polkinghorne have earned the distinction of being among the only players, both male and female, participating in five FIFA World Cup finals tournaments.

While 19-year-old Jada Whyman was named in the provisional squad, her name was not on the final squad announcement for the tournament.

Simon was a surprising inclusion in Gustavsson's first squad as head coach, as the unattached striker has been in a race to regain fitness so as to not miss out on a second straight World Cup.

The striker has not played a professional game since October 2022.

Gustavsson said he had many reasons to include Simon in his squad, including her goalscoring during the Olympics.

"The last time I saw her was in the Olympics she was behind a lot of our goal scoring," Gustavsson said.

"So she's based on being a game changer and I've been very clear to Kyah... I don't expect her to start the game.

"I don't think she's going to be ready for that but being a game changer off the bench to change the game when needed, that's why she's selected."

Gustavsson also noted FIFA rules allow teams to replace a player up until 24 hours before the opening game.

Kerr said Simon looks like she has been performing well during training.

"I think the only thing really is just getting fitness and that's the easy part of the game," Kerr said.

"She has a knack for the goal, a knack for doing something special, and she's kind of an X factor, she always has been her whole career.

"So to have someone in the team like that is amazing, it gives us all confidence.

"There's 23 players that can come off the bench and do something special but I think Kyah's right up there with having a bag of tricks in her back pocket."

The Matildas will play their first game on July 20 against the Republic of Ireland at Stadium Australia.

Commbank Matildas Women's World Cup squad:

Lydia Williams, Courtney Nevin, Aivi Luik, Clare Polkinghorne, Cortnee Vine, Clare Wheeler, Steph Catley, Alex Chidiac, Caitlin Foord, Emily Van Egmond, Mary Fowler, Teagan Micah, Tameka Yallop, Alanna Kennedy, Clare Hunt, Hayley Raso, Kyah Simon, Mackenzie Arnold, Katrina Gorry, Sam Kerr, Ellie Carpenter, Charlotte Grant and Kyra Cooney-Cross.

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