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The Matildas will be looking to bounce back from their unlikely 2-3 loss against Chile when the two nations meet again in Newcastle on Tuesday at 7:30pm AEST. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match.
The loss was a major surprise for the Matildas, who went into the game the sixth ranked team in the world taking on the 39th.
“Surprise” might actually be an understatement. Chile were the rank underdogs in this game and – despite them qualifying for the 2019 World Cup – they were probably expecting a cricket score.
Much of game 1 played out as it should. The Australians had 18 shots to eight (six on target to four) and 60 per cent possession.
But it was on the ball where the Matildas faltered. Chile picked off two of their three goals from shocking defensive errors – awry back-passes – while their second goal was contrived after Australia failed to clear their lines from a free kick.
All three goals were avoidable, and the Matildas will be smarting from each of them.
Coach Alan Stajcic is an unapologetic zealot of the “Australian curriculum”, and there was no contrition in his comments after the game about his team’s errors.
Stajcic will always look to play out from the back – but behind closed doors he will be demanding more conscientiousness from his back four. As his team prepares for the 2019 World Cup, they must cut out those mistakes and be crisper on the ball.
But lightning rarely strikes twice (or four times in this case), and the Matildas class – especially up front with Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord – should stand out in game 2; just as it did in the passing combinations that lead to the two Australian goals (two penalties after hack-downs in the box).
The Matildas are a unit with immense pride that have been together a long time, and they will be bitterly disappointed to have dropped game 1. In fact, we should see a Matildas hungry for retribution.
Game 1 was probably an aberration that wasn’t indicative of the class in the Matildas side. Kerr, Foord and De Vanna are in a different class to their Chilean counterparts, and after game 1 they will be eager to prove it to the football world. Game 1 should be reversed here, and potentially by a long margin.
Matildas 3 – Chile 0