The Matildas may have progressed further than any Australian football team ever has before at a World Cup, but how deep do their stocks go? While no one can deny making it to the third-versus-fourth play-off was an incredible, game-changing moment for football and women's sport, it is also hard not to wonder could Australia have gone further if more players were used? Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson was adamant all 23 players were imperative to their success in the tournament, yet used his substitutions sparingly. Changes to the starting team appeared to all be forced through injuries to Sam Kerr (calf), Mary Fowler (concussion) and Alanna Kennedy (concussion) with Gustavsson sticking solid to his starting XI as much as possible. Three Matildas - goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold plus defenders Clare Hunt and Steph Catley - played every minute of Australia's seven games, which included extra-time and a now famous penalty shoot-out victory in the quarter-final against France. Fullback Ellie Carpenter missed just 16 minutes and looked like she might collapse when subbed off in the 74th minute of the Matildas' 2-0 loss to world No.3 Sweden in Brisbane on Saturday night. Midfielders Kyra Cooney-Cross, a revelation in her first World Cup, supermum Katrina Gorry and forward Caitlin Foord weren't far behind in their marathon match minutes during the World Cup. All played their hearts out, but could have arguably benefited from more rest throughout the tournament. It's a "What if" question, and we'll obviously never know the answer. But it begs the question of what does Gustavsson really think of the Matildas' depth? He used 18 players but relied heavily on 13 or 14. It also probably adds weight to comments from Australian Professional Leagues (APL) chief executive Danny Townsend that, while a promise of $200 million in funding for community sports facilities to benefit women was welcomed on Saturday, investment was needed at a high-performance level. "Community sports facility funding is much-needed to ensure women and girls have more opportunities to play football," Townsend said on Saturday ahead of the Matildas' third-versus-fourth 2-0 loss to world No.3 Sweden in Brisbane. "The decisions made today are going to go a long way to inform the success of the Matildas in the 2027 FIFA Women's World Cup. So the exclusion of the Liberty A-League Women, the place where CommBank Matildas are made, is a major concern for the future of our game. "Right now, there is no investment return for women's football and the current private sector investment model is unsustainable. Player development is funded at a loss. Broadcast production is funded at a loss. Matchdays are funded at a loss. We simply ask the government to match our investment to help underpin the future of the game." That the Matildas have made women's football and women's sport the topic of conversation is the big winner, and they should not be judged on their last-up result. Their history-making performance at this World Cup in finishing fourth has captured the nation's imagination and ignited a women's sport movement. Spectators have turned up in record, sell-out crowds and television ratings have been blown out of the water. Stories of boys dressing up as Sam Kerr for book week and pretending to be the Matildas captain or young teammate Mary Fowler in playground matches have emerged, as well as male teachers naming classroom awards after Matildas players for students showing perseverance and strength in the face of challenges. On Sunday, the Matildas will receive the keys to the city at a fan celebration in Brisbane. There was even talk of a public holiday should they happen to win the World Cup. The general public have overwhelmingly thanked them for their efforts over the past few weeks. It is unprecedented stuff, but long overdue. How do they move forward now? Seemingly with the support of a nation behind them, but so much more can be done to ensure women's sport remains the topic of conversation and gains more financial backing at all levels. More investment at a grassroots level gives young kids who have watched this World Cup hope that they can be the next Sam Kerr, Mary Fowler or Mackenzie Arnold, or simply lets them play the game. More investment at a high-performance level means Australia can continue to produce players like Clare Hunt and Cortnee Vine, who both played at their first World Cup straight out of A-League Women, and perhaps puts the Matildas even closer to victory at a major tournament.