THE Matildas will play for a spot at the Olympic Games in Newcastle.
Australia will take on Vietnam at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday, March 6, in the first match of a home-and-away series - the final stage of qualifying for Tokyo.
The return leg will be in Vietnam on March 11, with the winner to secure one of 12 spots for the women's football tournament in Tokyo.
The Olympics blockbuster is another coup for the Hunter and follows the announcement last week that the Wallabies will meet Argentina in a Rugby Championship Test match here on September 5.
It will be the third time the Matildas have played at Turton Road in Newcastle in the past three years.
A then Australian-record crowd of 16,829 fans watched superstar Sam Kerr score a hat-trick to the lead the Matildas to a 3-2 win over Brazil in 2017.
In 2018, the Matildas thrashed Chile 5-0 in front of 12,649 fans. Caitlin Foord scored three goals. Both those games were midweek.
The Newcastle Jets have the bye in the A-League on the weekend of March 5-8 and the Knights kick off their NRL season eight days later against the New Zealand Warriors at McDonald Jones Stadium on March 14.
With an Olympics berth at stake for a Matildas side, spearheaded by Newcastle's Emily van Egmond and Kerr, officials are hoping for a crowd of 20,000.
In a further boost, the Matildas will be based in Newcastle for a training camp in the week leading up to the game.
The Matildas drew 1-all with China at Bankwest Stadium on Thursday night in the final group match of the third round of qualifying, after an injury-time goal by in-form van Egmond.
The point confirmed top spot in the group and set up the showdown with Vietnam.
Vietnam finished second behind South Korea in Group A, which was completed in South Korea last week.
Australia are ranked seventh in the world and have beaten Vietnam, who are No.32, in the past seven encounters.
The Group B qualifiers were to have been held in Wuhan, China, but were moved to Australia due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus.
The Matildas went down in the quarter-finals at the 2016 Olympics to hosts Brazil in a penalty shoot-out.
Tickets for the match against Vietnam go on sale Friday morning.
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