Matildas Top Group B, Rout Olympic Champion Canada

The Matildas’ intensive training at the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre in Mount Gravatt seems to have paid off, as they top Group B of the World Cup with two goals in each half, an impressive performance that saw them defeat Canada 4-0 despite dealing with key injuries.

Meanwhile, the Canadians became the first Olympic champions to crash out of the group stage.

Coming into the match off a poor defeat to Nigeria, the Matildas knew they had to win to have a realistic chance of avoiding a group-stage exit at their own tournament.

Any concerns were allayed when two goals from Hayley Raso put the Matildas 2-0 up at halftime. Mary Fowler and Steph Catley added the finishing touches in a brilliant second-half display.

2023 Women's World Cup Australia vs Canada
Photo Credit: Instagram/CommBank Matildas

Hayley Raso Brace Puts Matildas in Control at Halftime

The hosts knew they needed to start strongly against Canada after their recent attacking struggles. They did just that. At the 9th minute, Catley and Caitlin Foord combined to set up Raso, who brilliantly slotted the ball into the bottom corner.

They thought they had a second when Fowler fired home from close range after a flurry of tackles and clearances in the box, but a lengthy VAR review eventually ruled Ellie Carpenter offside in the build-up.

Canada’s reprieve was short-lived, however, as Australia scored from a corner moments later. The visitors failed to deal with a corner and Raso tapped in from close range to deservedly double the Matildas’ lead.

Canada coach Bev Priestman made four changes at halftime in an attempt to turn the tide.

Fowler and Catley Seal Emphatic Win

Australia’s dominance continued in the second half. At the 58th minute, Foord rounded Vanessa Gilles and squared the ball to Fowler, whose shot ricocheted off the post and over the line.

The rout was completed in stoppage time when substitute captain Jessie Fleming fouled Katrina Gorry in the box. After a VAR review and the awarding of a penalty, Steph Catley stepped up to convert her second spot-kick of the tournament to cap a magical night.

The atmosphere was electric as the Matildas put on an attacking masterclass for the home fans. Each goal brought massive cheers and chants from the packed stadium, with the players celebrating passionately together.

Matchday 2: Nigeria Stun Wasteful Matildas in Brisbane

2023 Women's World Cup Australia vs Nigeria
Photo Credit: Instagram/CommBank Matildas

Australia took an early lead against Nigeria in their second group match of the Women’s World Cup. But two goals in eight second-half minutes paved the way to victory for Nigeria, who capitalised on a wasteful and slow Australia attack and lapses in concentration at the back to claim a famous 3-2 victory at Brisbane Stadium.

The Matildas went up 1-0 in the opening minutes through Emily van Egmond. However, Nigeria equalised before halftime off a set piece. The African side then scored two quick goals after the break to go up 3-1.

Despite a late strike by Alanna Kennedy to pull within one, Australia could not find an equaliser.

Matchday 1: Matildas Edge Ireland in Tense World Cup Opener

2023 Women's World Cup Australia vs Ireland
Photo Credit: Instagram/CommBank Matildas

Australia overcame the pre-match injury of superstar captain Sam Kerr to defeat a spirited Ireland side 1-0 in their opening match of the Women’s World Cup.

Stand-in captain Steph Catley scored the only goal of the match with a well-taken penalty in the 52nd minute.

The Matildas held off a late resurgence from the Irish squad to secure a 1-0 win.

Matildas Top Group B Amid Injuries

Many Australian fans would have expected the worst after their shocking loss to Nigeria. The country faced the prospect of becoming the second host nation to be eliminated at the group stage.

But they turned it on when they needed to most, beating a Canada side that defeated them twice in Australia last year.

Their emphatic 4-0 rout of Canada shows the squad’s potential when firing on all cylinders. The win, combined with Nigeria’s draw with Ireland, means the Matildas top Group B. They will play in the Round of 16 at Stadium Australia in Sydney.

While injuries and inconsistent performances raised doubts earlier in the tournament, this dominant display will give Australia confidence as they aim to capture their first World Cup title on home soil.

Published 01 August 2023