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Matildas show they’ve got what it takes to match the best in the world

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13th November, 2022

Eight months out from a home World Cup, the Matildas showed they can match it with the best in the world. They defeated the world number two Sweden in emphatic style on Saturday with a 4-0 win in Melbourne.

In front of 22,065 fans, the Aussies held off an impressive start by Sweden before dominating in the second half.
After some lacklustre performances lately, it was a great confidence boost for Tony Gustavsson’s players leading into the upcoming World Cup.

It was a comprehensive performance where they showed the world they belong with the best.

Gustavsson has Swedish background. And as Michelle Escobar, an Optus Sport presenter pointed out, “In his fourth attempt Tony Gustavsson can finally say he’s beaten his home nation and what a way to do it, a 4-0 thumping of the world no. 2.”

The girls in the green and gold had been struggling lately with underperforming results.

It was less than 18 months ago, where the Aussies had lost to Germany, Netherlands, and Denmark and drew with Sweden. They then continued to lose to Japan, Ireland and the United States in the ensuing months.

Then there was the disappointment of bowing out at the Quarter Final stage of the Asian Cup in January. And then on 26th June, the Matildas got smashed 7-0 by Spain.

The losses were mounting and so was the pressure on the coach.


Many Aussie fans were seeing red and calling for the coach’s dismissal after several underwhelming performances against top-ranked countries.

But now with this stunning victory against the world-heavyweights, the 49-year-old silenced his critics.

Gustavsson has had time to tinker with the Australian side since he was appointed coach in 2020. And while some may have asked for his head, he is finally showing he may have found the players’ strengths. And the right mix to deliver results on the big stage. And it might be the perfect timing, as the World Cup approaches.

Inspirational captain and 2021 Women’s Super League Golden Boot winner Sam Kerr was brilliant as always. The sensational striker scored a goal and played a key role in setting up two more. Kerr hadn’t scored in her past four outings for Australia but players of her calibre don’t stay down for long.

It was always just a matter of time. The three-time best international women’s Soccer player ESPY Award winner scored her 60th goal for Australia just before halftime. And the Aussies then extended that lead after the break to put the game beyond reach for the visitors.

Caitlin Foord celebrated her 28th birthday in style with a superb goal. In what was arguably one of the best plays of the match, the home side took the ball from defence to attack in class.


Through slick ball movement, Kyra Cooney-Cross gathered the ball in defence, then accelerated forward before passing it off to Foord.

The Arsenal striker then cut inside, passed her opponent and curled the ball into the top right hand corner. It was a spectacular goal.

The girls in green and gold were impressive against the world number two Swedes.

There was so much to like about this performance. 19-year-old Mary Fowler continues to grow and scored a slick goal while Steph Catley and Courtney Nevin were impressive in defence.

Nevin is only 20 and has a bright future ahead. The experience of 150-gamer Clare Polkinghorne and Emily van Egmond does not go unnoticed either.

Sam Kerr

Sam Kerr (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Katrina Gorry played a crucial linking role and showed why Gustavasson describes her as “the heart and the engine of the team.”


And the team showed their flexibility and ability to cover key players, having had Alanna Kennedy and Aivi Luik, withdrawn due to injury and illness respectively. The side’s maturity and ability to adjust tactically throughout the match was also crucial and will place them in a great position as they compete on the biggest stage next year.

It was a far cry from the team that lost 7-0 to Spain less than five months ago.

It had been three and half years since the number 13-ranked Aussies had won in Melbourne but they were determined to send a message to the rest of the world. And they did it in style, taking their biggest scalp since defeating then-world number one, United States in 2017.

 (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Sweden are a great side. They are the world number two for a reason. Silver medallists at the Tokyo Olympics. And had only lost one of their past 20 internationals and yet the Matildas made them looked second-rate.

And then if their performance on the field on Saturday wasn’t enough, the Matildas went a step further off-field on Sunday.

Riding high after their thrilling victory at AAMI Park, the talented stars went to visit some young fans at an indoor soccer centre in Maribyrnong. The youngsters were left speechless as they had a surprise visit from their heroes. A heart-warming experience that showed they are not just role models on the field, but off it as well.


As the World Cup approaches, the Matildas showed they have improved and have what it takes to match it with the best in the world.

With a World Cup on home soil fast approaching, perhaps they can go all the way. It won’t be easy. But as Michael Morcos, a passionate Soccer fan said, “When you’re in the World Cup, you’re one of the best 32 teams in the world, anything is possible.”

The Matildas’ opponents at next year’s World Cup was recently revealed. They’ll play the Republic of Ireland, Nigeria and Olympic gold medallists Canada. No opponent in the World Cup can be taken lightly, and Canada and Ireland have had success over the Aussies recently. But if the girls in green and gold play like they did on Saturday, they can be confident of progressing passed the group stage.

While room for improvement still exists, with the right attitude, perhaps they can continue their scintillating form and remain undefeated.

Australia’s next friendly match is against Thailand on Tuesday night in Gosford on the NSW Central Coast. Kick-off is at 7:30pm AEDT.