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Veterans return to Australia camp for women's football friendlies

CANBERRA, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- Australia national women's football coach Tony Gustavsson on Monday announced a 24-player squad for friendlies against Sweden and Thailand ahead of the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

It features the return of several star players from injury, including first-choice goalkeeper Lydia Williams, defender Alanna Kennedy and midfielder Elise Kellond-Knight.

Kellond-Knight, 32, has not played for the Matildas since February 2020, having torn her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in July 2020 - two months before Gustavsson took the reins as coach.

The midfielder, with 113 appearances, was included in the squad for the Tokyo Olympics, but did not play due to knee pain, eventually requiring further surgery.

"There are a few more players available which is great news as they come back from injury having recorded some good game time," Gustavsson said in a statement.

"For this camp, you see a core group of players returning, for the third camp in a row since September, and then a few players coming back in and it's well deserved for those who have come back."

The Matildas will play against Sweden in Melbourne on November 12 and Thailand in Gosford on November 15.

Australia are grouped with Canada, Nigeria and Ireland in a tough draw for the host nation.