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Kate Gill has scored more goals for Australia than Tim Cahill but she will not be going to next month’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Gill’s exclusion was the biggest shock when Matildas coach Alen Stajcic named his 23-player squad on Tuesday for the showpiece tournament in Canada.
Gill has scored 40 goals in her 83 matches for Australia since 2005, one more than Socceroos great Cahill’s tally, and her omission comes just a day after the 30-year-old collected the W-League Golden Boot award for her 12 goals last season.
While Gill had been a valuable member of the side for so long, Stajcic said the selected strikers had the edge over her during the intensive training camp the Matildas underwent since January.
“I don’t think it’s the equivalent to Tim Cahill at all, they’re separate teams,” said Stajcic.
“The Socceroos don’t get a four-month preparation time and we did and players were picked on form during that period.
“She’s performed really well. The problem is the other players have as well.
“When you look at our striker force, you’ve got people like Sam Kerr, Caitlin Foord and Lisa De Vanna, Michelle Heyman and Kyah Simon.
“You can only pick so many and we had to make a decision on who was going to be more effective for us at the World Cup.
“Kate missed out by a small inch but they’re the decisions that have to be made at this level. It’s very hard. It’s heartbreaking for those players. It’s the end of their dream.”
Hudson heading to fourth World Cup
Stajcic’s squad features veteran goalkeeper Melissa Hudson (nee Barbieri) who will be heading to her fourth FIFA Women’s World Cup and 10 first-timers.
After missing last year’s Asian Cup, Hudson, 35, forced her way back into the squad at the expense of Brianna Davey, who was another surprising omission.
Stajcic said he was yet to select a number one shotstopper, with Hudson competing with Lydia Williams and Mackenzie Arnold for the role.
“Melissa’s consistency, her organisation and her communication is probably the best in the team,” Stajcic said.
“She’s just got so much drive and determination. She’s a winner.”
Asian player of the year Katrina Gorry headlines the squad which contains 18 members of the group that finished runners-up at last year’s AFC Women’s Asian Cup.
Gorry is set to make her World Cup debut, along with Arnold, Nicola Bolger, Steph Catley, Larissa Crummer, Heyman, Alanna Kennedy, Teresa Polias, Hayley Raso and Ashleigh Sykes.
The Matildas kick off their campaign against world number two side USA before facing fifth-ranked Sweden as well as African champions Nigeria.
Stajcic vowed they would give a good account of themselves in such a tough group but is solely focused on the opening clash.
“I’m not worried about the rest of the tournament at the moment, I’m only worried about that game against America,” he said.
“We’re not in there for a draw or to get a satisfactory 1-0 loss, we’re going to go in there to get a win.”
Matildas squad: Lydia Williams (GK, Washington Spirit), Melissa Hudson (GK, Adelaide United), Mackenzie Arnold (GK, Perth Glory); Clare Polkinghorne (D, Brisbane Roar), Laura Alleway (D, Brisbane Roar), Servet Uzunlar (D, Sydney FC), Steph Catley (D, Melbourne Victory), Elise Kellond-Knight (D, Brisbane Roar); Emily van Egmond (M, Newcastle Jets), Katrina Gorry (M, Brisbane Roar), Nicola Bolger (M, Sydney FC), Ashleigh Sykes (M, Canberra United), Leena Khamis (M, Sydney FC), Tameka Butt (M, Brisbane Roar), Alanna Kennedy (M, Perth Glory), Teresa Polias (M, Sydney FC), Hayley Raso (M, Brisbane Roar); Lisa de Vanna (F, Melbourne Victory), Caitlin Foord (F, Perth Glory), Kyah Simon (F, Sydney FC), Michelle Heyman (F, Canberra United), Larissa Crummer (F, Brisbane Roar).