After 396 days the Matildas returned to international football with a 5-2 loss in a friendly against Germany.
There was drama for both sides before the match, with the Australians experiencing delays with their charter flight getting to Germany for the match. Meanwhile the Germans had to rule out four players just hours before the match due to Felicitas Rauch testing positive for COVID-19, forcing her Wolfsburg teammates out of the match as well.
Germany dominated the first half, and in just the 11th minute Sjoeke Nüsken managed to put the ball in the back of the net due to a defensive error from the Australians. The Aussies lack of attacking prowess was stark in comparison, failing to get a single shot on target in the first half.
It took just two minutes into the second half Kathy Hendrich got Germany their second, letting the Matildas know the second half wasn’t going to be any less painful.
A third and fourth goal just before the 65th minute put Germany in cruise control, with Jule Brand and Laura Freigang respectively the players to find their way onto the score sheet.
All hope was not lost for the Matildas, with Emily Gielnik managing to put the Australians on the scoreboard in the 82nd minute.
A fifth and final goal for the Germans wasn’t far away, with Linda Dallmann scoring in the first minute of added time.
The Australians were quick to keep it within three goals, with a cross from Emma Checker to Gielnik to come away with the Australian’s second goal for the night.
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Following the match, new coach Tony Gustavsson chose to look on the positive side, praising Germany’s performance whilst taking the loss as a reality check.
“First of all I’m very impressed with Germany’s performance. We played an outstanding team tonight, so hats off to them.
“Sometimes you play a team that performs better and they were a class better than us tonight. We have to look at it this way, what do we do with the time that we have?
“We could have gone the easy route as the new coach coming in and play some easy games, get some good results and have the buy-in from players and buy-in from fans and so forth.
“This is what we need, we need this reality check. We need to see where we are at right now.
“Is it tough? Yes, but we need that toughness in order to know exactly what we need to do to prepare for the Olympics.”
Gustavsson also praised the Matildas for their concentration for the full 90 minutes despite the deficit on the scoreboard.
“I think for all of us it was a good reality check but also a lot of good learning moments.
“I do credit the girls to actually stay in the game [mentally] though, to actually come back and score two goals, in a game that is this tough.”
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