Soccer-Matildas to play at home after 18 months in Brazil series

(Reuters) - Australia's Matildas will play at home for the first time in more than 18 months after the country's soccer federation on Sunday announced a two-game friendly series against Brazil next month.

The matches on Oct. 23 and Oct. 26 in Western Sydney will be the first on home soil for the Australia women's team since their Olympic qualifier win over Vietnam in March 2020.

The announcement comes after the New South Wales state government approved Football Australia's biosecurity measures.

Local media reported that the proposed measures allow arrivals to bypass the mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine, instead remaining in bubbles before games to limit their exposure to the public.

Australia is grappling with a third wave of COVID-19 infections from the highly infectious Delta variant that has led to lockdowns in its two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, and the capital, Canberra, affecting nearly half the country's 25 million people.

The Matildas' Brazil series opens the door for the men's team, the Socceroos, to host Saudi Arabia in their World Cup qualifier in November in Sydney.

Football Australia also hopes to announce a home friendly series for the Matildas against world champions United States in November.

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru)

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