When a long-limbed teenager from Canberra made her CommBank Matildas debut against Korea Republic in 2005, Lydia Williams never imagined that 16 years, 10 months and 25 days later, she would be on the verge of becoming the first female Australian goalkeeper to reach a century of appearances for her country.
Speaking to the media on Thursday morning, the 34-year-old reflected on the potential achievement during this June FIFA Window.
“To be honest, I wouldn’t have dreamt that I would have come this far,” Williams said. “So really, it’s just an honour and a privilege.”
“I think I’ve been around for everyone’s first cap. That’s kind of more special to me seeing how everyone’s developed rather than the 100. I would have never believed you if that’s what you told me when I was first started playing.”
Williams will become the eighth CommBank Matilda to hit the milestone in the past 12 months and during her tenure with the team she has witnessed the change from the unknown to the much loved.
Internally Williams has also observed a shift in mentality that has seen Australia develop into a team that can challenge some of the world’s best.
“It’s the belief. I think we always believed in ourselves, but now we believe that we can play and beat these big teams.”
“We have some amazing world class players all amongst our team and it’s been really exciting to see how girls have developed and taken the challenge and pressure. For me, it’s just been watching that development throughout the years.”
Since assuming the number one jersey almost a decade ago, Williams has had a front row seat to some Australia’s biggest games and faced up against some of the world’s best attackers.
On Saturday she could add yet another experience with the highly regarded Spanish team and, with the FIFA Women’s World Cup the main goal, Williams is planning to see what lessons can be drawn from the encounter.
“It’s a good preparation for us. It’s a team that is going into a major tournament versus a team that’s coming off a break.”
“Right now, it’s going to be a good indication of seeing how these teams are lining up for a major tournament. We can see the gaps and what we need to make sure that we are improving and be ahead of the game when it comes to 2023.”
Coverage of the CommBank Matildas against Spain will kick off at 5.00am AEST on Network 10, 10 Play and Paramount+.
Spain v Australia
Date: Saturday, 25 June (local) / Sunday, 26 June (AUS)
Time: 9.30pm (local) / 5.30am (AEST)
Venue: Estadio Nuevo Colombino, Huelva
Broadcast: Network 10, 10 Play and Paramount+