The Matildas are in a do-or-die situation to progress out of the group stage of the Women’s World Cup after losing 3-2 to Nigeria in Brisbane.
While Australia had the majority of chances against Nigeria, taking 28 shots and having 15 corners, they were unable to find the back of the net.
The opening goal was the first the Matildas have scored during open play when Emily van Egmond, the addition to the starting 11 after Mary Fowler received a mild concussion during a training session, met Caitlin Foord’s cross and redirected the ball into the back of the net.
“It’s obviously a frustrating result,” defender Alanna Kennedy said, “but there’s a lot of positives for us to take.”
Kennedy, one of Australia’s centre-backs, spent the last 20 minutes of the game as a centre-forward. The reshuffle on the pitch by head coach Tony Gustavsson did eventually bear fruit with Kennedy scoring from a corner in one of the final plays of the game and put the Matildas in reach of a point.
“We have to move on from it now… as soon as we [The Matildas] leave here, it’s focus on [Canada] because it’s coming around quickly,” said Kennedy.
The result of this game now means that Australia must win against Canada if they want to keep their World Cup dream alive.
“This team thrives on having that pressure to win, going into the Canada game we know we have to win, we’ve got to deliver,” said defender Clare Hunt post-game.
The Matildas will face Olympic Champions Canada in Melbourne on the 31st of July, kicking off at 8pm AEST.