A black eye isn’t the medal Caitlin Foord wished for from the FIFA Women’s World Cup, but the Matildas star says she’ll enjoy looking “pretty badass” for at least a few days.
Australia’s journey ended on Saturday night when they lost to Sweden in the third-place play-off. Foord completed the full 90 minutes of a tournament where she played every game but a few seconds.
The 28-year-old wore a bandaged head in the second half in Brisbane after a clash with Sweden captain Kosovare Asllani.
Foord said that night that nothing would stop her from hosting the match, although she joked that she wasn’t good with blood and “it would have been a different story” if she had been cut open.
Two days later, the Arsenal star revealed her injured eye masked the true lingering pain of the blow.
“Actually, it’s not bad, it looks worse than it is,” Foord told Sunrise.
“The punch was actually up here (above her eyebrow), this is where it hurts, but I guess the duct tape pushed everything into my eye and made me look pretty badass. I’ll keep it for a few days.”
The interview was her first since the troupe left camp and split for the first time in over two months.
When asked to name one thing she will never forget, Foord said she could hardly find words to describe the overwhelming memory.
“We spend a lot of time together and I think we’ve been together for about nine weeks throughout the season and you live with the players and the staff on a day-to-day basis,” she said.
“It’s like family and has been for so many years. So I think if you just make those connections and nurture those bonds, then we experience the same thing – it’s unique to be able to explain to someone how that feels. It is very difficult.
“To have that connection with them and we’ve shared that together and experienced that right now and honestly there’s a lot more to come as well, you can’t do that. It just happens.”
While the Matildas’ campaign was the center of attention throughout the Women’s World Cup, it took on a life of its own as it grew in depth.
Ticket sales were booming and TV ratings were skyrocketing, while gamers saw even bigger differences.
“Obviously, when a bus pulled by and waved, the front of the hotel was getting crowded and we definitely felt like we were getting the nation’s attention,” Foord said.
“I don’t think we realized the scale until we really thought about it, but it was really incredible.
“Obviously we’re still a bit disappointed to walk away without anything, but overall we know we’re proud of what we’ve done for the sport here in the country.”
The Matildas and the Socceroos have had big moments over the years, but Foord said this tournament felt like a “watershed moment” for football in Australia of all genders and ages.
“It’s exciting for the Matildas, we’re going to have so many young girls to choose from in a few years,” she said.
“We want to strive to do something great with the Matildas, which is win a World Cup, win an Olympic gold medal – opportunities like this give us the best chance of achieving that.”
Foord’s Sunrise interview followed an emotional reflection on Sunday via Instagram.
Although a dejected picture from the loss to Sweden topped the gallery after the game, four happier photos followed to wrap up the crazy month.
“It’s hard to find the right words to sum up this campaign after last night’s disappointment. It hurts VERY bad not to have a medal to show for the tournament we just had,” Foord wrote.
“But what we’ve done is much bigger… We’ve united the whole country, inspired the next generation, made history, changed the way football is viewed here in Australia, but most importantly we’ve made a lot of Australians proud.”
“Our main goal was to leave a legacy and I think it’s fair to say that we achieved that.
“I couldn’t be prouder to be Australian and Matilda – Thank you Australia.”