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Australia coach downplays USWNT rumors: ‘I don’t see this as an end’

Coach Tony Gustavsson led Australia to the semifinals of the 2023 World Cup. (Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

The U.S. Women’s National Team is in the market for a new head coach after Vlatko Andonovski’s resignation, and one name that has been floated as a replacement is Tony Gustavsson.

Tony Gustavsson, a former USWNT assistant under Jill Ellis, led Australia to the World Cup semifinal this year as the team captured the attention of the nation. Gustavsson, however, seems focused on helping the Matildas reach the next level.

“I don’t see this as an end of a journey. I see it as the beginning of a journey,” he said after Australia’s loss to Sweden in the third-place match. “But I also want to be very clear that I want to see investment now. I really do. I want to see investment and I mean like real investment that we’re serious about what we do.”

Gustavsson has attracted some criticism for his tactical decisions and substitution patterns. But among USWNT fans, after a lackluster run under Andonovski – the team came in third at the 2021 Summer Games and was eliminated in the Round of 16 of this year’s World Cup – Gustavsson is an appealing candidate. Even Ellis, who led the USWNT to back-to-back World Cups alongside Gustavsson, said Gustavsson should “definitely be a strong candidate” for the head job.

The timing might be tricky, however. Gustavsson is under contract with Football Australia until the end of Australia’s 2024 Olympics run. And, for now at least, the coach seems happy in his current situation.

“What I can say is I love working with this team,” Gustavsson said. “It resonates with me as a coach; their identity and their why.”