In their second game of the Perth tour, the Matildas came on top with another convincing victory after they beat the Philippines 8-0 on Sunday.
The win puts the Aussies in a great position on their road to the Olympics, as they go top of their qualifying group.
The home side started their trip to Perth with a bang last Thursday, as they outclassed Iran for a convincing 2-0 with goals from Ellie Carpenter and hometown hero Sam Kerr.
However, their game against the Philippines looked to be a tougher task, who led the group after a 4-1 victory over Chinese Taipei.
Given the importance of the game, Tony Gustavsson put out a much stronger starting lineup as Kerr along with Mary Fowler, Caitlin Foord, and Mackenzie Arnold were all on the pitch for the opening whistle.
The total attendance of 59,155 fans broke Optus Stadium’s footballing record set by 2019’s A-League Grand Final to witness the Matildas grace the pitch once again, in a game with top of the group on the line.
It was the Matildas who came away with the win with goals from Mary Fowler, Caitlin Foord, Sam Kerr, and Clare Wheeler.
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Similar to the game against Iran, the Matildas started off strong, using fast build-up play to move the ball around the Philippines whilst playing a high line.
Mary Fowler caused problems early by making movements into space for her teammates to pick her out to create chances.
The Aussies would have chances in the opening ten minutes through a free kick and a corner, however they were unable to find the finishing touch.
In the 15th minute of the game, Alanna Kennedy switched play to the right flank and a through ball from Kerr put Ellie Carpenter in behind for a cutback. After a back heel from Kerr, the ball fell to Fowler who tapped it in for the first goal of the game.
Three minutes later the Matildas struck again, as Arsenal’s Caitlin Foord dribbled around two defenders before crossing the ball back to Kerr to make the game 2-0, which provoked a roar from the Perth crowd.
Although the Philippines would have their moments, the Aussies would continue to dictate the game and in the 29th minute of the game they scored yet again.
Kerr was able to take control of a beautiful cross from Fowler before passing the ball off to Foord to make it three, with Foord scoring her brace four minutes later after a great pass from Hayley Raso.
When the Matildas had the ball it was clear to see that there was nice fluidity on the flanks. Mary Fowler and left back Steph Catley would connect well as the latter would drift into midfield when in possession.
Carpenter would also have a lot of success running behind the defense on the right wing to put a cross in.
Just before half-time, Foord picked out Kerr with a beautiful pass to leave her one-on-one with the goalkeeper before the hometown hero smashed it into the roof of the net to make it five.
The first half ended 5-0 with the game seemingly over.
24 seconds into the second half Fowler used a nice bit of trickery to skim past her defender, before crossing it into Kerr for her hat trick.
The Aussies would continue to dominate the ball with chance after chance, in the 56th minute Foord would get her third Matildas hat trick when she took the ball past two defenders before smashing the ball in the net.
Foord’s third goal took her to outright fifth on the Matildas all-time goal scorer list, after joining Sarah Walsh in equal fifth during the first half.
Outside of scoring her hat trick Kerr also did a great job of dropping deep to link up play with her teammates, she almost scored her fourth as she found herself one-on-one against the keeper once again, but this time the Philippines goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel came out on top. This would be Kerr’s last contribution to the game before being substituted off in the 65th minute.
Kerr came off as part of a quadruple substitution along with Kyra Cooney-Cross, Hayley Raso and Katrina Gorry. The four were replaced by Clare Wheeler, Amy Sayer, Emily van Egmond and Cortnee Vine. Vine however would only play 10 minutes before coming off for Alex Chidiac after a suspected hamstring injury.
Despite the game being wrapped up the Matildas were eager to get as many goals as they could and in the 72 minute Wheeler would score her first goal for the Matildas from outside the box to make it 8-0. The eighth goal marks the heaviest defeat the Philippines have faced in their history.
For the rest of the game the Matildas would continue to dominate while the Philippines had no answer. There was a chance to score a ninth goal through Amy Sayer who headed the ball over the bar, but the game ended 8-0 with the Aussies seemingly having a stranglehold on the top spot in their group.
In his post game presser, Tony Gustavsson said that the first half performance was one on the best he had seen throughout his time managing the Matildas.
“It’s easy to say yes now that I’m a bit emotional,” Gustavsson said.
“Maybe Canada first game but in a different way.
“Tactically as an execution I think the first half of Canada is up there as well, but attacking wise definitely one of the best halves.”
In relation to Cortnee Vine’s injury, Gustavsson said that they were still assessing her but they were unable to give a certain update at the current time.
“If I speculate, I think it’s a soft tissue in her hamstring” Gustavsson said.
“They are assessing her now and they are going to assess her in the morning.
“It’s too early to say if she’s ruled out for the last game but with my experience I think there is very little chance she will be ready for the last game.”
In regards to the attendance, he said that he was happy and privileged to be apart of such a historic event.
“From a personal level I’m extremely privileged to be apart of something big like this,” Gustavsson said.
“But for the players perspective I’m just extremely happy for them, I’m also happy for the Alumnis because of what they’ve done throughout the years putting the program to where it is now.
“I’m extremely happy for a lot of people, but I’m extremely happy for the fans, for them to be in the stadium today so we could experience this together.”
When speaking to the media, Caitlin Foord, who was awarded player of the match, said that the win was huge for the team.
“Goals were important today but we did want to take it one goal at a time,” Foord said.
“But we were happy to put eight away to keep us in a good position moving forward.”
Foord also praised the atmosphere from the Perth crowd.
“I think [the atmosphere] was really good, Perth is extremely excited to have us here and we’re just as excited to be here because we haven’t played games here for a long time,” Foord said.
“[Perth] being Sam’s [Kerr] hometown, there’s going to be a buzz but to almost have 60,000 out there today, it was a joy to play in front of them.”
In the final game of their Perth trip, the Matildas take on the Chinese Taipei with Olympic qualification looking wrapped.
You can watch the Matildas’ Olympic Qualifiers on Paramount+ or Channel 10