In an interview ahead of the World Cup semi-final, Matildas and West Ham star Mackenzie Arnold has been batting away daft questions from the British press.
“Mackenzie these two countries have a traditional and long rivalry,” said the journalist in a press conference ahead of tonight’s game.
“I’m sure there are a lot of England fans back home that would l’ve to see them knock you out of your home tournament. Is the idea of being knocked out by England almost unthinkable to you?”
Arnold, stone-faced, replied: “Being knocked out by anyone is unthinkable, I think there’s a lot of English people that would like to see them knock us out but I think there’s more Australians that would love to see England knocked out by us.
“We have so many rivalries with so many different countries, this is just another game for us.”
The rest of the room just laughed.
Arnold saved three penalties after missing her own attempt in the quarter-final shootout against France on Saturday night. In some quarters, she has apparently become known as Australia’s minister of defence.
That impact is cutting through to the world of marketing with Brand Finance Australia calculating that the value of the Matildas brand could rise to as much as $210 million after the tournament from just $40 million beforehand.
This, Brand Finance Australia MD Mark Crowe told the Guardian, would make the Tillies the most valuable national sports team.
“They are now a very strong brand in the world of football and when you’re looking at their strength in Australia, they’re up there with some of the country’s strongest commercial brands,” Crowe said.
“The challenge is to maintain that strength beyond the World Cup, a signature event that brings incredible focus and attention for a month.”
Attributing a value to a national sports team is difficult but the bumper ticket sales, record-breaking television audiences and remarkable merchandise sales, along with the anticipated investment from government agencies into sports programs, all figure in the Tillies’ valuation.
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