O Captain! My Captain!
Four words is all it took for Sam Kerr to let go of six months of frustration fuelled by off-field controversy felt by all members of the squad.
Likewise, it breathed life and character into a group of players under the pump – giving all Australian’s a reason to back them.
Moreover, it summarised the narrative following the Matildas this tournament and the last six months – internal versus external.
The endeavour shown, despite circumstances, in the win against Brazil personifies what Australian’s love about their sporting teams.
To top it off, Kerr etched herself into Australian folklore post-game and in doing so galvanised greater support for the team.
To label Kerr’s comment immature is naïve and invalid, she was not going to give a robotic, media trained response after a win like that – one plenty of the ‘haters’ hoped they would lose.
In doing so, Kerr perhaps rallied greater support for the Matildas than ever before – appealing to the bogan in all of us when she told the haters where to go.
It is said the best – and possibly the worst – time to interview someone is immediately after a major occurrence.
Mick Fanning proved this after he punched out a shark, as did Kerr who after captaining a come-from-behind-win gave one of the best off-the-cuff interviews in recent memory.
In any team within an environment as public is this the internal and external expectation will always collide and what makes this narrative all the more captivating is the Matildas have more than just a point to prove.
Every time the team step out this tournament it will be with emotion, the challenge will be channeling and using it to their advantage.
This team was prematurely slammed after the loss to Italy – in addition to the squad’s culture and game style being heavily questioned throughout 2019.
Dealing with external noise is an issue all sports people have to deal with and is something which is never completely blocked out.
This is where the voices internally – within the four walls of the squad – have to stand up and be convinced they are capable of success.
Ante Milicic says the team has to do it the hard way – the Australian way – and with their backs against the wall facing potential elimination, the Matildas dug deep and produced a World Cup victory to rival the mens’ win over Japan in 2006 as the nation’s greatest ever.
It is still early, and the Matildas aren’t even out of the group yet, but there is something about this team which you can’t help falling in love with.
A win against Jamaica will seal qualification into the next round, with second place being the highest Australia will most likely finish, with Brazil needing to beat Italy and the Matildas requiring a cricket score in their match to top the group.
Have the Matildas reaffirmed themselves as contenders after the win against Brazil?
They may have – but it is still far too early to call.
A lot still has to go right for the Matildas if they want to get passed the world’s best, but the belief and determination shown in the last match provides a glimpse of what could be.
And if the haters aren’t down with that then we have four words for you.