High hopes for Melbourne City's Kellond-Knight as Australia prepares to take on world no.1 USA

The Westfield Matildas are aiming high ahead of Friday’s (AEDT) international friendly clash with the USA in Denver, Colorado.

With the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ rapidly approaching, Australia’s hosts are currently ranked No.1 in the world by the sport’s governing body: making them a target for the teams jostling for position below them.

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Elise Kellond-Knight is interviewed in Denver, Colorado

Australia sits at No.6 in the latest FIFA rankings. It is a great achievement for the Green and Gold, but Melbourne City midfielder Elise Kellond-Knight – who will be playing for Seattle Reign in the upcoming NWSL campaign – insists she and her teammates have their eyes firmly on the pinnacle. 

“This is a really important game for us, playing against the world No.1,” she said. “It’s a really big occasion.

We spoke a bit about presence, and being ready to compete against America – putting our presence on the field and feeling like we should be in their position, we should be world No.1.

“[This match] is vital in our preparation [for the World Cup]. We’ve only got a handful of games left together as a team, so this game – especially being against the best team in the world – we couldn’t really ask for better preparation.”

Elise Kellong-Knight at Melbourne City
Elise Kellond-Knight in Melbourne City colours

Talking of aiming high, Friday’s game will kick off at energy-sapping high altitude in Denver, nicknamed the ‘Mile-high city’ because of its elevation above sea level.  

“I was just saying to Aivi [Luik] that I thought the ball was dropping quicker, but she thought I was having her on, she didn’t believe it.

“But you definitely feel it in your lungs, it’s a little bit harder to breathe [at the high altitude]. Hopefully it doesn’t have an impact [in the game].

“I just came in yesterday. The majority of the team has been here since Thursday so they’ve had a couple of days together.

“But now the whole squad is finally together. It’s a really good feeling. We’ve only been apart for a couple of weeks now, but to be together again is really good for us.”

Australia is ranked No.6 in the world following the recent Cup of Nations

Upcoming Match | Westfield Matildas

United States of America vs. Westfield Matildas (international friendly)
Date: Friday, 5 April 2019 (AEDT)
Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Colorado
Kick-off: 12.30pm Friday, 5 April 2019 (AEDT); 7.30pm Thursday, 4 April (local);Broadcast: Live in Australia on FOX SPORTS 503 and SBS Television, streamed on theworldgame.com.au