Swedish coach Tony Gustavsson to take charge of Matildas

Experienced Swedish coach Tony Gustavsson has been named as the new coach of Australia’s women’s football team, the Matildas.

Gustavsson, 47, has had a two-decade-long career in coaching, including teams in his native Sweden and two stints with the United States women’s national team, assisting US coach Jill Ellis in two Women’s World Cup-winning campaigns.

He replaces Ante Milicic, who left the Matildas earlier this year to coach new A-League club Macarthur FC.

Gustavsson’s four-year contract means he will coach the Matildas for the next two Olympic Games campaigns, the 2022 Asian Cup in India and the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia.

Australia lost to Norway on penalties in the round of 16 at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, following a 1-0 loss to Japan in the final of the 2018 Asian Cup in Jordan.

A group of women's international footballers kneel and crouch on the ground after a World Cup loss.A group of women's international footballers kneel and crouch on the ground after a World Cup loss.
Gustavsson will be looking to improve on the Matildas’ round of 16 exit at the last Women’s World Cup in France.(Reuters: Eric Gaillard)

FFA chief executive James Johnson said Gustavsson’s intimate knowledge of the global football landscape, experience at major tournaments, and a strong history of national and international success would be invaluable to the team.

“We believe that the combination of Tony’s persona and his experience make him the right person to help us do this,” Johnson said in a statement.


“Importantly, Tony has also demonstrated a strong desire to positively influence the broader Australian football landscape by working closely with elite Australian coaches including Mel Andreatta, Rae Dower, and Leah Blayney to enhance their skillsets and help bring the next generation of female players through the development pathway over the crucial four-year period ahead.”

Gustavsson is in charge of the first team at Swedish men’s top-tier league club, Hammarsby IF until the end of 2020.

Subject to COVID-19 restrictions, he will oversee a proposed Matildas camp in Europe this November, before starting his formal contract with the Matildas on January 1 next year.

Gustavsson said he was “extremely proud and happy” to be given the job as Australian national team coach.

“I feel that my 21 years of coaching have put me in the position to be ready for this,” he said.

“I have been in the pressure cooker a lot of times and in environments that demand success. These experiences will be beneficial as we do this together with the fans, the stakeholders, the players, and the staff as a team,” he said.