Matildas head coach Tony Gustavsson reiterated his commitment to Australia amid strong links with the Sweden men’s national team.
According to Swedish newspaper Sportbladet, Gustavsson – who was also linked with the United States women’s team – is one of the favourites to replace outgoing Sweden coach Janne Andersson and is believed to have even interviewed for the role.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT FOR SOCCEROOS: Three key injuries for Arnie to assess
ROOS WIN AGAIN: Aussies scrap their way to another World Cup qualifying win
‘IS THIS A JOKE?!’: How Wenger’s old club signed a Socceroo in the space of one afternoon
KERR’S THREE-GOAL HAUL: Stunning 25-minute hat-trick to inspire Chelsea to big Champions League win
SCENES: Matilda at the heart of wild celebrations as Champions League fairytale continues with memorable comeback
The report claims Gustavsson, contracted through until the 2024 Olympics and preparing for February’s play-off against Uzbekistan, met with the nation’s federation on “at least one occasion and one more occasion is also planned” about the job.
But on Saturday, the 50-year-old – who guided Australia to an historic FIFA Women’s World Cup semi-final berth – responded to the speculation as the Matildas prepare to face Canada in a pair of international friendlies on December 2 and 6 (AEDT).
“I’m passionate about the CommBank Matildas and, as I have stated before, I’m fully focused on qualification and participation at the Paris 2024 Olympics,” he said.
“Our team’s journey towards this goal is my primary focus and commitment.”
Football Australia (FA) also wished to provide clarity on the matter.
“We are aware of speculations about Tony Gustavsson and the Swedish men’s national team,” said FA. “Football Australia, however, does not comment on speculative reports or our staff’s potential future engagements outside their current contract.”
“Gustavsson is currently under contract with Football Australia as the head coach of the CommBank Matildas, with his tenure extending until the Paris 2024 Olympics,” FA said. “Football Australia highly value his contribution to the team’s journey and achievements so far.”
Sweden are looking for a new head coach following Andersson’s final match in charge on November 19 – a 2-0 win over Estonia in a Euro 2024 qualifier after the nation failed to qualify for year’s major UEFA tournament.
Sportbladet added in their report that members within the organisation “are working to get Gustavsson in” as they attempt to make an appointment before their January tour.
Elfsborg’s Jimmy Thelin and BK Hacken’s Per-Mathias Hogmo are believed to be the other candidates for the men’s national team role after former Chelsea boss Graham Potter turned down an approach.
Gustavsson was heavily linked with the United States women’s national team after guiding Australia to an historic FIFA Women’s World Cup semi-final on home soil.
He reportedly travelled to the USA to interview for the role before legendary Chelsea boss Emma Hayes was appointed to fill the void left by Vlatko Andonovski.