Tony Gustavsson was asked about female coaches. His answer was brilliant & goes back 23 years

Matildas boss hails the female coaches he has learned from as prepares for a World Cup semi final against England.

A day after he turned 50, Matildas boss Tony Gustavsson has spoken passionately of the female coaches he has learned from and the learning he still wants to do.

A day before the biggest game of his 24-year coaching career, taking on England in the World Cup semi final, Gustavsson also paid tribute to his opposite number Sarina Wiegman and her remarkable record at international tournaments.

Australia’s head coach was assistant to compatriot Pia Sundhage in 2012 with the US team at the London Olympics, and then to Jill Ellis with the same team from 2014-2019 – winning two Women’s World Cups in that time.

Asked to reflect on those experiences, and his own coaching journey, Gustavsson said that every one of the coaches he has worked alongside had contributed to what he offers now with the Matildas.

“I don’t think this is a coincidence that most of the teams that have won the World Cup on the women’s side have been coached by a woman, and the stats talk for themselves,” Gustavsson said.

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“I’ve learned a tremendous amount of leadership, training methodology, every person you work with you learn a lot from, (something) which I have done with all the coaches that I worked with in the past.

“In terms of my own journey, I think I’d like to go back all the way to 2000 when I started to coach and the 24 years of coaching (since). 

“I started in the women’s game in 2012 in the Olympics in London and being part of the evolution and the development of the women’s game, and seeing the growth in quality investment, all that – whether it’s coaching and the coaching quality or whether it’s the players, whether it’s investment in infrastructure, the players, the clubs, all those things  – has been an amazing journey.

“I’m still learning. I’m far from where I need to be as a coach. I’m learning every single day with decision-making, leadership, training methodology, set-play tactics. I’m probably going to learn a lot from tomorrow’s game as well.

“I go back to when I was 19 and where I’m at now. You know my mantra, I want to get one day better every day, not just one day older. I sit here and (I’m) definitely one day older, but I hope one day better as well.”

Wiegman has lost only one game in senior international tournaments as a head coach and Gustavsson hailed that record – though couldn’t help noting that he had been involved as the US assistant in that one defeat in the final of the last World Cup.

“I have to say (with) Sarina, what work she’s done with every team she’s worked with. There’s no coincidence that she was awarded the prize as the best coach in the world, I think it’s three times or so. A very impressive coach and a team whose stats speak for themselves in terms of tournament football.

“I think she’s lost only one game and that’s the game that I was lucky enough to sit on the other bench.

“Some of these players also played against us for Great Britain when we played them in the Olympics and we were fortunate enough to win that one as well.

“And then there’s the friendly (when Australia beat England in March), so that’s good. But this team lives in its own life and she’s going to be very prepared with her team like she always is to have a very, very clear plan on how to hurt us and we need to be ready for everything.”

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