(Or the one where Australia came back to beat Brazil 3-2)
First, the recap.
After the game against Italy, I was hoping for an improved back-line at the very least, and what we got was that, and a much-improved side overall.
After a little bit of a shaky start, and still missing passes, we started to play more confidently, and really grew into the game.
A couple of silly mistakes let Brazil jump 2-nil up, and it would have been easy for the Matildas to shut up shop and stem the flow to get to the half-time break and reset.
But they didn’t.
They worked and fought hard, all the way to the break, and Foord’s goal (coming off the back of a Kerr run pulling defenders away from the play) shifted the momentum just enough to give us a sniff.
What an amazing thing half-time breaks are. I’ve seen plenty of matches where that break was the difference between a win and a loss, and this game was no different.
The Matildas came out swinging in the second half, and we looked much freer in the middle and up front.
It wasn’t so much about feet on the ball in the second half, but the way the Matildas created space and chances. Though we still played a little slow from the back-line, we had the personnel to deal with counterattacks.
And it was the taking of those chances that made the difference. (And a little bit of luck, thanks to the no offside call on Sam Kerr in the own goal that won the match).
In the end, the Matildas came out on top because they played confidently. A couple of tweaks to the run-on side made a huge difference, and for the first time in a little while, Kerr and Foord are working well together, and Chloe Logarzo playing in behind is a big reason for that.
All-in-all, we still have a few things to work on, but we’re getting there. Very few teams go into the World Cup 100% on their game, and the Matildas are building nicely.
Four Little Words
Who would’ve thought that four little words would make such a huge impact.
Suck on that one.Sam Kerr, 2019
It was authentic raw emotion, elation, a big up yours to those, in Sam’s words, ‘haters’, who she later called out on twitter just to show the rest of us a little of what she and the rest of the team cops on a daily basis.
T-hirts have already begun to pop up around the place immortalising those four words.
I know for some people a statement like that coming from the captain of one of our most successful national sporting teams might seem trite, immature, and in bad taste.
But when you put them up against everything the Matildas have been faced with over the last 5 months, the constant speculation over Alen Stajcic’s sacking and the rumours and innuendo that continue to swirl around the team, whether Ante Milicic was the right coach for the job, and all of the trolls and sexist, homophobic and misogynistic bullshit that they put up with constantly, we shouldn’t be so surprised.
Add to that the constant battle for recognition that all our women’s teams go through, along with equal pay and opportunities, better facilities and coaching, I think those four little words sum up what the Matildas team was feeling quite succinctly.
Now excuse me while I go find a ‘Suck on that one’ t-shirt to add to my collection.
(PS Bring on Jamaica!)
If you’re after more Women’s World Cup analysis, check out Molly’s Footy Rants – here’s the latest on the Aus v Brazil match.
And if you’re after a much more nuanced opinion on Sam Kerr’s calling out of sexism etc, check out Kate O’Halloran’s article here.