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000 on the strength of pre-publication publicity. There were those who argued that women should not

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Australia FIFA Continents and regions Demographic groups Females (demographic group)

Australia's women's football team poses with a nude calendar produced to promote women's soccer in Australia in Sydney in November 1999.

 Australia's women's football team poses with a nude calendar produced to promote women's soccer in Australia in Sydney in November 1999.

William West/AFP/Getty Images

Australia's women's football team poses with a nude calendar produced to promote women's soccer in Australia in Sydney in November 1999.

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(CNN) - Sometimes, the only way to get noticed is to be controversial, to be out of the ordinary. Stir it up, cause a fuss, rip up the rule book and watch the masses react.

In the autumn of 1999, Katrina Boyd and her teammates assembled at the Australian Institute of Sport for a photo shoot they all knew would make headlines. There was a storm brewing in the Australian capital and the country's women's football team was in the eye of it. "We wanted to rock the boat," Boyd tells CNN Sport.

With a home Olympics on the horizon, Australia's women's football team, better known as the Matildas, needed money to help prepare for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity on home soil.

Though they were international athletes, for the majority of players it was a struggle to work, train and survive. There were no sponsors, few fans, and little money to be made from the beautiful game.

Just months earlier they had competed at the 1999 Women's World Cup, a tournament still regarded as instrumental in the advancement of the women's game, to little fanfare. The Matildas needed to, somehow, enter the nation's consciousness.

The solution? After a seed was sown at a boozy party in 1999, 12 players agreed to pose nude for a black and white calendar which would go on sale in December of that year.

Nudity did not bother Boyd, who would go on to become Miss August in the calendar that would sell, in her words, "s**tloads."

As she waited for her turn to be photographed, she seated herself on the stage and made idle chit-chat with the photographer to pass away the time. That she was naked was of little concern to the-then 27-year-old.

"It was all done very tastefully, at no time did we feel preyed upon, no-one felt that we were just objects," Boyd, speaking from her Brisbane home, remembers.

"It was no different to the changing rooms. Some girls would shower in their bras and undies and those sorts of girls would never put themselves on the calendar. Pretty much the girls who were in the calendar were the same girls who didn't mind getting their gear off, having a shower, getting dressed and moving on."

These weren't coy images. There were full frontal poses, no props hiding breasts. Needless to say, the press conference for the launch of the calendar was packed with journalists.

"Whatever next?" one Sydney columnist wrote, according to Sports Illustrated. "A lap dance of honor at the Olympics? A free trip to a massage parlor with every season ticket?"

According to reports, the original print run of 5,000 copies was increased to 45,000 on the strength of pre-publication publicity.

There were those who argued that women should not have to use their bodies to sell their sport, let alone to raise funds to represent their country. But the players themselves believed they were portraying images of strong, powerful women.

READ: England v Scotland: The most anticipated World Cup match

At the time, Boyd told journalists "if people want to call it porn, that's their problem," and 20 years on the Australian, who describes herself as an "out there kind of person," still has no regrets, even though it was her picture which proved to be one of the most controversial.

"I did a full frontal. People were up in arms," says Boyd, now a dog trainer.

"The photographer just said: '(Are) there things you're happy to do?' I was like 'whatever' and they said, 'how about you just stand?' and I went 'yeah, go for it.' I just don't care about nudity.

"It rocked the boat a little bit over here, but we did get a bit of coverage and the word Matilda started to mean something, though probably not for the reasons we wanted.

"It was a bit of fun, it got us our 15 minutes of fame which, for us putting in a lot of groundwork, training hard, doing everything, was nice.

"I wasn't surprised by the negative reaction. That would still happen today. We were more surprised by how much people were into it, but half of them were blokes, of course.

"I never cared in the slightest that males were paying more attention to us because we did a nude calendar. That was just a given. I'm pretty laid-back about the whole thing."

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