Matildas; More player trials likely in clash with Canada

Flexibility in how the Matildas play when they get to the Olympics will be crucial according to star Caitlin Foord who defended coach Tony Gustavsson’s decision to go with untried players and a new game style in Saturday’s smashing in Canada.

An unrecognisable Australian outfit was belted 5-0 by the reigning Olympic champions and Foord, who has been starring for Arsenal in the Women’s Super League in the UK, said it would be the “same again” in the second clash on Wednesday (AEDT) in Vancouver, the last match of the year for the Matildas.

In the wake of the loss, Gustvavsson declared that “sometimes growth hurts, growth and development hurts at times” as he tries to build depth in the squad which will have to beat Uzbekistan to make the Paris Games, with questions over whether the coach will get there as he eyes off a job with Sweden’s men’s team.

Foord, who is key to Australia’s Olympic hopes, said the lack of training time hurt in trying to pull off a new playing style, but said the Matildas need it “in their toolbox” for Paris.

“I mean, we’re trying to, I guess, trial new things, and that’s in a way a new playing style. and we haven’t had many trainings doing it, let alone competition matches against the top opponents,” she said ahead of game two.

“So I guess it’s just seeing how that works and how it goes as well. And just another style that we’re able to play. Come to the tournament, I think it’s important to be flexible with kind of what game plan you have, so to have another one in our toolbox, which we’re trialling. will be massive.”

Foord also said the late coming together of the squad, which is without captain Sam Kerr and first-choice goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold, impacted their ability to be at their best, with the game played in cold, wet conditions.

But she was confident better would come in the second match on their path to qualifying for the Olympics.

“I mean, it was a tough game. Obviously, the new conditions that we’ve come to, a lot of us haven’t played on turf for a very long time,” she said.

“So, to have a couple of days to switch that mindset and back into that, and then the travel over and stuff like that, it was a hard game to get into, and obviously, being away from home, and this is Canada’s home.

“It’s a huge game for us to build to what the bigger picture is, and that’s the Olympics and our next games, which is the Olympic qualifiers.

“So, yeah, for us, it’s kind of learning and trialling an era with new things to build towards the bigger picture.

“So it was a good test and yeah, a good run for everyone. And same again on (Wednesday).”

Leave a Comment