Matildas' first clash with NZ off limits

by AAP on May 04, 2011

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The start of the Matildas' final build-up for the FIFA women's World Cup will be off limits to the public, with next Thursday's international match against New Zealand to be played behind closed doors.

Australia will face the Football Ferns in two full internationals at Gosford's Bluetongue Stadium on May 12 and May 15, as Tom Sermanni's side finalises preparations for next month's tournament in Germany.

But Football Federation Australia has opted only to offer tickets for the second match on Sunday, which will also be broadcast live on ABC TV.

It is believed the decision comes down to cost cutting, with matches open to the public attracting expenses in areas including ticketing, security and catering.

FFA said on Wednesday it wanted the Matildas to have two hit-outs against their trans-Tasman rivals, but it made sense only to promote Sunday's game as a spectator event.

"Due to timing of the (first) match, 2.30pm on a Thursday afternoon, it's not ideal to have an open international," a FFA spokesman said.

"It's more for the teams to get match practice, rather than have two matches of the exact same teams play in a four-day period."

FFA also said it did not want to dilute the potential attendance for Sunday's match, with hopes for a crowd of more than 3000.

Sunday's match will be Australia's last on home soil before their World Cup campaign, which kicks off on June 29 against Brazil in Moenchengladbach.

The Matildas will face Mexico and England in friendly matches in Germany in the lead-up to the tournament.

Sermanni's side suffered a blow on Tuesday, with striker Kate Gill ruled out of the tournament due to a serious knee injury.