Matildas’ woes continue with loss to Denmark

The Matildas’ Mary Fowler (right) and Denmark’s Rikke Sevecke battle for possession in the Danes’ 3-2 win. Picture: Henning Bagger / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP

Sam Kerr insists the Matildas are focusing on “the bigger picture” of the Olympic Games rather than being concerned about their poor start under coach Tony Gustavsson.

The Matildas are none from three since Gustavsson’s appointment, with their latest defeat a 3-2 loss to Denmark on Friday morning.

While the scoreline suggested it was a tight contest in the Danish city of Horsens, the hosts led 3-0 after 25 minutes, with the Matildas not scoring until teenage substitute Mary Fowler netted her first goal for Australia with a superb 87th-minute strike.

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A stoppage time header from veteran defender Clare Polkinghorne further narrowed the Danes’ lead but it proved too little, too late for the Australians, whose Tokyo Olympics preparations suffered another blow in Emily van Egmond’s 100th appearance for the Matildas.

Australia has conceded 13 goals in three matches under Gustavsson, including five each in heavy April losses to Germany and the Netherlands.

“This is a part of a process for us,” Kerr said.

“We’re building something here with Tony. This week’s been really hard, and it’s not just about this game … it’s a process and we’re working towards something.

“It didn’t come off (against Denmark) but this is the first time we’ve played this formation, and obviously you always want to win but there’s the bigger picture in a few weeks.”

Tony Gustavsson has suffered a third successive loss as Matildas coach. Picture: Henning Bagger / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP
Tony Gustavsson has suffered a third successive loss as Matildas coach. Picture: Henning Bagger / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP

Defensive woes continued to haunt Australia in a 10-minute first-half period in which it conceded three goals.

The first came in the 15th minute when Matildas midfielder Tameka Yallop turned the ball into her own net after the Australians failed to properly deal with a Denmark free kick.

The Danes doubled their lead in the 21st minute when Rikke Sevecke scored from close range after the Matildas failed to clear a corner from Nicoline Sorensen.

Denmark’s third goal came just four minutes later when Matildas goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold fumbled a Sorensen cross into her own net.

Earlier, Kerr thought she had scored in just the fourth minute but she was correctly ruled offside.

“Three cheap goals … for us that’s disappointing but it was good fightback from us in the second half,” Kerr said.

The Matildas continue their Tokyo Olympics build-up on Wednesday morning with a match against Sweden in Kalmar.

Sports reporter


Marco Monteverde is a Brisbane-based sports reporter for NCA Newswire. He worked in a similar role for The Courier-Mail from 2007 to 2020. During a journalism career of more than 25 years, he has also worked fo… Read more

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