Anthony Albanese’s tribute to the Matildas for their ‘incredible’ World Cup run has been met with a backlash by some furious fans, after the team went down 3-1 to England in the semi-final.
The nation has been enamoured with the side’s record-breaking effort at the home tournament with millions tuning in to cheer them on Wednesday night and 75,000 screaming fans out in force at Sydney’s Olympic Park.
Leading the chorus of praise for the Aussies was the Prime Minister who said on social media: ‘You’ve given us all moments and memories that will last a lifetime.
‘Cortnee Vine rocketing the ball into the net in the final penalty against France. Mackenzie Arnold’s brick-wall saves. Sam Kerr leading the team on and off the field.
‘Every single Matilda has brought us joy throughout this @FIFAWWC. And I have no doubt that the next generation of Matildas were watching. We’ll all be cheering for you on Saturday (for the game to decide third place).’
However some fans hit back at Mr Albanese by pointing out that he joined the team on the field after their win against France to bath in the glory, but did not head out onto the pitch following their crushing defeat.
Other fans said if he’s so impressed with the Matildas his government should put up more funding for women’s sport.
‘How come you did go down on the field to say congratulations like you did last time when they won,’ one fan said.
Another wrote: ‘Stop the bandwagoning you loser.’
Heartbroken football fans also accused him of using the tournament to win votes.
‘Fund the game! Enough of political point scoring, give them the opportunity, fund grassroots and give them a level playing field,’ one person said.
Another wrote: ‘That’s great words, but how about properly funding the game at grassroots.’
‘Fund them! Invest in women’s sport and help improve the opportunities for the generation who’ve been inspired by this Matildas team and all they’ve achieved this World Cup,’ another commented.
The backlash comes a day after Mr Albanese folded on his plan to pitch a public holiday to national cabinet if the Matildas were to win the FIFA Women’s World Cup after state leaders suggested the Prime Minister cool it.
Anthony Albanese’s tribute to the Matildas for their ‘incredible’ World Cup run has been met with a backlash by some furious fans, after the team went down 3-1 to England in the semi-final (The PM is pictured at the semi-final match)
Steph Catley of Australia is congratulated by Anthony Albanese after the team’s 1-0 victory in the FIFA Women’s World Cup against Ireland on July 20, 2023
One fan questioned why Mr Albanese didn’t go onto the field after the team’s devastating loss to England unlike when they beat France (pictured, Mr Albanese and Sam Kerr on August 12)
South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas repeatedly warned he didn’t want to jinx the team ahead their clash with England.
Speaking with ABC’s Radio National, the state Labor leader said he’d rather invest the $18m public holiday price tag into women’s sporting facilities.
‘I don’t want to be superstitious about tonight’s result, but what I do think regardless of the outcome is a massive investment in women’s facilities within grassroots sports,’ he said.
Victoria’s Daniel Andrews and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk had both sidestepped questions in recent days, preferring the wait-and-see approach.
Mr Albanese has championed the idea of a day off since it was first put to him in a podcast interview with youth outlet The Daily Aus in June.
But after backlash from business groups about the cost of extra wages, and resistance from some state leaders, he changed his tune on Wednesday morning ahead of the national cabinet meeting.
‘We won’t actually be discussing it today. We’re discussing housing and other issues,’ he told Triple M Hobart.
‘It’s up to the states and territories what they do.’
Mr Albanese also knocked back criticism a public holiday would negatively impact small businesses.
Anthony Albanese was forced backtrack on his calls for a public holiday if the Matildas won
‘When the public holiday was held for the memorial day for the Queen, what happened was that a whole range of small businesses went gangbusters on that day,’ he added.
‘The contribution to the economy of this World Cup has been extraordinary, and tonight clubs and pubs right around Australia, they’ll be full, as well as live sites being full, and the contribution should not be underestimated that has been made.’
Mr Albanese later laughed off suggestion he’d brought bad juju to the team by ‘going the early crow’ on the public holiday call.
‘Look, I got asked really early on before even they made the round of 16 … I said, ‘Yeah, I would’,’ he told SEN Sydney.
‘Whether the Tillies can get there or not, all Australians will be cheering for them tonight.’
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton emphatically ruled out supporting the national public holiday, pledging to spend $250m on community sporting infrastructure if the Coalition was returned to government.
On Monday, NSW Premier Chris Minns guaranteed to hold a public holiday within a week of the final if the Matildas were victorious.
‘Not just to celebrate the victory but also to have a massive civic celebration and allow the Matildas to celebrate with the people of Sydney in what would be an amazing life-changing and unbelievable event in the state’s history,’ he said.
The nation has been enamoured with the side’s record-breaking effort at the home tournament with millions tuning in to cheer them on Wednesday night and 75,000 screaming fans out in force at Sydney’s Olympic Park (Fans at Federation Square in Melbourne are pictured)
World Cup hero Hayley Raso of Australia applauds fans after the team’s 1-3 defeat to England
But Tasmanian Premier, and sole Liberal leader around the national cabinet table, Jeremy Rockliff poured cold water on the idea.
‘We’re 100 per cent behind the Matildas, but we won’t be supporting a public holiday,’ he said.
‘Our small businesses are often the first to sponsor and support our grassroots and elite sports. It’s too much to expect them to shoulder this cost too.’
His own daughters were quick to roast him in a family group chat. ‘DAD WTF,’ one wrote, while Ruby added: ‘NO DAD WE NEED ANOTHER HOLIDAY.’
Mr Rockliff later shared the ribbing to Facebook: ‘Safe to say I’m not the most popular member of the Rockliff family this morning.’