Aussie Kyah Simon is hoping to help the Matildas book a semi-final berth at the women’s World Cup by beating Sweden in Sunday’s quarter-final.
Striker Simon scored the two goals that fired Australia into the last eight as her side came from behind in Leverkusen to inflict a 2-1 defeat on Norway in their final Group D game, which sent the 1995 world champion home.
The 20-year-old Sydney FC forward scored a minute after Norway had taken the lead and then sealed victory with a header three minutes from time.
“A goal was my big dream, the second was a bonus,” she said.
“I hope that we will still go far now.”
Born in Blacktown, a suburb to the west of Sydney, Simon says Aborigine sprinter Cathy Freeman, who took 400m gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, was her role model while she was growing up.
“My idol was always Cathy Freeman. I think it’s great what she has achieved as an athlete with indigenous roots,” says Simon.
Simon says she was a precocious talent…at the age of eight she was telling neighbours she would one day play for Australia.
At 16, she played her first international match for the senior Australia team, before she had even made her professional club debut.
One year later, she scored her first goal for the Matildas and at 18 she was part of the team that was crowned Asian champion, before finding herself on the cover of football magazine FourFourTwo.
At 19, she was top-scorer in Australia’s W-league and voted footballer of the year.
And now she will be playing for a World Cup semi-final place and is the first player with Aboriginal roots to score a World Cup goal for Australia, all before her 20th birthday.
Simon is proud of her ancestry and has been an ambassador at a festival of indigenous football.
“It was really good to see so many Aboriginal children play soccer,” she said. “It was a nice experience for me, to be considered as a role-model.
“That has really lit a spark in me. There were so many children there who had natural talent.”
Buford Balony says: Let’s hope they get to play England again in the final,because that would be an easy victory for the Matilda’s, eh Goomba & Blackpool surfer.