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Opinion

'We are too predictable': Ex-Matilda urges changes for decisive US clash

Sam Kerr scores a goal. (Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)
Roar Guru
25th July, 2021
5

Former Matilda Shelley Youman has urged Tony Gustavsson to make changes for Tuesday night’s crunch encounter against the USA.

While the Matildas are likely to move to the quarter-finals regardless of the result, who they face in the knockout stages will be determined by their game against the USA.

“I think bring Alanna Kennedy and Emily Gielnik into the game earlier,” said Youman.

“I don’t think we should let Sam Kerr take penalties either, she has enough pressure being captain and our number one player.”

The 4-2 defeat to Sweden means the Matildas have conceded a whopping 19 goals in seven games since Gustavsson took charge. They have scored eight goals themselves in that time, with three from the boot or head of Kerr.

Sam Kerr

(Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images)

The goals conceded are a damning statistic and while it’s far too early to judge Gustavsson’s impact on the team, it is obvious what he needs to work on in the coming days.

Conceding goals is one thing, but the way teams are taking Australia apart is what is most concerning. Sweden never seemed to worry they were 2-1 down, and judging by the ease with which they equalised then took the lead, one can understand that.

“I think Kennedy is better than what we have and she is experienced, so we need to bring her into the team,” urged Youman.

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“I would also like to see Chloe Logarzo in the middle, she can tighten up that midfield.

“We are too easy to play against and teams can pick us apart in the middle. We need to stifle opposition attacks before it gets to the final third.

“We need more speed as well. Teams get on the outside of us too easily and they can separate from us in the middle. That comes down to pace and also reading the play.”

Apart from Kennedy, Gustavsson has veteran Laura Brock (63 caps) or youngster Courtney Nevin (two caps) as other options in defence.

Assistant coach Tony Gustavsson of the United States

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Nevin is an interesting prospect: a quality tackler and an excellent reader of the play. Nevin also provides another dimension in attack.

Her runs along the left flank coupled with her devastating left foot can wreak havoc for opposition defences.

She also has an excellent tank, meaning she can run all day, an important trait for a team that tires out very quickly.

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Gielnik would also be a useful proposition in attack. She scored two goals against Germany in a friendly last month, and is coming off an excellent W-League season with Brisbane Roar where she netted 13 goals in 12 games. She also scored four times for Vittsjo in Sweden.

“We need to stop relying on Sam to score and we need other players to step up,” said Youman.

“Gielnik provides that variety and can complement Sam. We need more bodies in the box.

“We are too predictable and while Sam always steps up to score, the good teams will find ways to shut her down in the big games.

“If Sam has an off day, what do we have? We need to throw something else at opponents.”

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