Australian football watchers were divided by the Matildas’ 0-0 draw with the powerhouse United States team that left both teams likely through to the quarterfinals, although Australia must wait for another result to go their way.
The draw saw the Matildas in third in Group G with four points after all games in the group have been played. That means they will Great Britain or Canada, barring a ridiculous result elsewhere.
A draw suited both teams and both would have been in a uch more precarious position with a loss.
The only way the Matildas do not play the winner of Group E is if China beat the Netherlands by four goals – which would see the Matildas get knocked out. For context, the Netherlands have a 10-3 win and 3-3 draw to their name. China has had a loss and 4-4 draw.
But after a bright first half where both teams threatened – Aussie youngster Mary Fowler headed onto the bar and American Alex Morgan had a goal ruled out by VAR for offside – the team’s played out a famous soccer meme from The Simpsons, passing around their own backlines as neither team pressed forward.
— Michael Burke (@_michaelburke) July 27, 2021
Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson, who was an assistant with the US at the last Olympics, said was he was surprised at the Americans’ approach. They were well beaten by Swedcen in their opening match before thumping New Zealand to fiinish above the Australians in second on goal fifference.
“The one thing that surprised me a little bit was that they were a bit passive in their pressing and I’m used to seeing them very very aggressive,” said the Swede.
But Australia did little to take the initiative either, leaving many fans frustrated.
Not how I want Australia to play. Goes against everything I thought we stand for #USAvAUS
— James Moore + (@mrjamesmoore) July 27, 2021
I get it, the girls got a result to ensure progression however is that the type of football we want to play? Where were our courageous and skillful ballers taking it to our opposition #football #matildas #playtowin #notsold
— Jake A M (@JAMCRO26) July 27, 2021
Seemed like the Matildas reached a point around 75 minutes when a draw was the chosen result.
In the last 10 minutes it felt like the back 4 passed the ball amongst themselves 694 times ????????
Hopefully we get through and can lift. ????
— ????????Jon AZ Survivor (@jonstubbo) July 27, 2021
Very poor form by the Matildas. What is the point of playing if you are not prepared to compete? Much vaunted coach must share the blame. Where’s Staj ? Fortunately no paying spectators demanding a refund #ausvusa
— David Jack (@DavidJack20) July 27, 2021
The matildas match was a horrible advertisement for football.
Shouldn’t be playing like that.
— Legends of Sport (@Legendsofsport8) July 27, 2021
Not a fanatic Matildas fan and not connected in any way to ⚽️ but am I going to cop it if I say games I saw under previous coach Alen Stajcic had a more attractive style and system? Why can’t we have an Australian coach on such a huge national stage nit a Swede no-name?Confused.
— ViduKewell (@ViduKewell) July 27, 2021
A dull final 20 with both happy with the draw but if you offered @TheMatildas these results a month ago, reckon they'd have snapped them up. There's been some tactical improvement.
— Daniel Garb (@DanielGarb) July 27, 2021
That game suuuuuuuuuuuuucked but at least we didn’t lose I guess #USAvAUS
— Vince Rugari (@VinceRugari) July 27, 2021
But there were plenty of Australian fans who applauded the pragmatic approach.
It certainly wasn’t pretty but pragmatism rarely is. Maybe problem is we expect our Matildas to be swashbuckling all the time, and we need to accept that sometimes grinding out a result, especially in big tournaments, is more important than how you grind it out.
— Remo Nogarotto (@RNogarotto) July 27, 2021
— Melinda (@CristianoWifey7) July 27, 2021
Australians weren’t the only ones disappointed in their team, with many US supporters bemused by their side’s approach.
Not good enough. Game was uncharacteristic of our identity. We looked on our heals and playing safe. The strongest attribute of this team is attack. I don't think this type of game will help us. Our passes weren't crisp. We looked to be playing not to lose, rather than to win.
— Steven D. (@Simply_Ordinary) July 27, 2021
captains need to call a few players only meetings between now and friday— time to do the coaching and motivating from within. if your coaching staff doesn’t understand the USWNT culture, it’s on you to bridge that gap and put the team on your back. #uswnt #USAvAUS
— Rachel Jolley (@iamracheljolley) July 27, 2021
I'm losing interest in whether we go any further in this tournament. Much as I love the #USWNT I can't get behind a team playing football like this. We deserve to lose to the first team playing proper football. https://t.co/0CAJrWb398
— Ellston Logan (@EllstonLogan) July 27, 2021
— Elias ???? (@eliasxcastro) July 27, 2021