Disgruntled football fans have vented their frustration at the coaching of Matilda’s mentor Tony Gustavsson after the side put in another “stunning” performance in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat by Canada in Brisbane.
The Matildas failed to capitalize on several high-profile scoring chances – but were also in some ways flattered by the goal-line as Canada dominated much of the game and created plenty of chances of their own.
Australia have won just seven of 25 games since Gustavsson took charge in September 2020, including being eliminated from the Asian Cup earlier this season – and the Swede’s bewildering tactics and squad selection has drawn the ire of many.
After the 7-0 defeat by Spain in June – Matilda’s worst result in more than 25 years – calls for the ax grew louder; and were only bolstered after Saturday’s defeat with less than a year to go until Australia hosts the Women’s World Cup.
An animated Tony Gustavsson shouts out to the players during Australia’s 1-0 loss to Canada
Australian skipper Sam Kerr vents her frustration at the loss of Matilda
Prominent football expert Lucy Zelic said she was “still not convinced of Gustavsson” after the defeat, while one fan wrote “there must be a serious problem with the manager” given the talent Australia has at their disposal.
Others were more cautious, with one criticizing Gustavsson’s “junk tactics” while another said his method “pulled Matildas from real competitors to participants in tournaments”.
More than 25,000 rowdy fans flocked to Suncorp Stadium on Saturday for a look at the Matildas; but had to leave disappointed despite the entertaining affair.
Canada took a 1-0 lead thanks to a stunning goal from Adriana Leon just 10 minutes into the game.
Canadian striker Adriana Leon celebrates her stunning goal past the outstretched fingertips of Australian goalkeeper Lydia Williams
Three strong saves from Canada goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan ensured the Women in Red would retain the lead, although Matilda’s skipper Sam Kerr appeared safe on several occasions.
After the break, it was an end-to-end with Australia that gave Canada far too much leeway while in possession, an area of their game they need to improve ahead of next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Kerr put in a clean shot in the 83rd minute for substitute Cortnee Vine, who shot just wide as Australia pressed for an equaliser, and the Chelsea superstar missed again in added time when Sheridan headed over the bar again tilted.
Sam Kerr dribbles at the top of the box. The Chelsea superstar had several chances against the Canadian defence
Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson said defender Charlotte Grant did a good job overall against Canadian star striker Nichelle Prince, but conceded that the Matildas “were exposed a little too easily on the counterattack” early in the game.
“We weren’t intense enough in the first half. I think we were a lot more physical in the second half,” he said after the game.
Gustavsson said Matilda’s never say die attitude was evident at the end when Kerr went in search of the equalizer and refused to believe the team was particularly weak in attack.
“Sam is a world-class goalscorer and other days she scores three goals and everyone’s really happy and she’s happy,” said Gustavsson.
“It was just one of those days. We need to work on our last pass to set them up for success.’
Tony Gustavsson is under fire as the Matildas have retired since taking over in 2020
It was a typically vague post-match press conference from Gustavsson, who continues to bury his head in the sand when it comes to selection and tactics.
A particularly savvy football fan thinks enough is enough.
“Alright guys, what’s the point of keeping Tony Gustavsson as Matildas’ coach? What did he do to deserve to keep him? The Matildas shouldn’t play so badly. Sam Kerr’s injury is out of the question at this point,” the fan wrote on Twitter.
That being said, of course, there were still plenty of positive things for Matildas fans to hold on to.
Rising star Mary Fowler was impressive in the loss to Matildas and showed good energy
The side were served well by midfielder Mary Fowler, 19, who kept her busy all the time, while “quarterback” general Katrina Gorry was also excellent, creating opportunities for the forwards with her passes.
Gorry, who took a year off in 2021 to have a girl Harper, proved a constant threat and the veteran will be crucial to the side’s World Cup chances.
Unfortunately, the Matildas lost key defender Alanna Kennedy to a leg injury before half-time and she was replaced by Aivi Luik.
Young Matildas promoted Cortnee Vine reacts after missing a shot on goal in the side’s loss to Canada
The silky-smooth centre-back is believed to have suffered a groin injury.
With 320 days to go before the World Cup kicks off, Gustavsson has signaled that consistency and consistency in the squad’s line-up will be key if he is to lead the side to peak form in the tough games.
Two of them – forward Caitlin Foord and defender Steph Catley – told Channel 10 before kick-off they hoped to be available for Tuesday’s second clash with Canada in Sydney.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-11178085/Football-fans-SLAM-Matildas-coach-Tony-Gustavsson-Australia-Canadas.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Football fans SLAM Matilda’s coach Tony Gustavsson after Australia left for Canada