The Matildas have continued their rich run of form, making it three consecutive wins as they stunned world No.2 Sweden with a 4-0 victory in Melbourne.
Sam Kerr grabbed her 60th goal for Australia just before halftime, and the advantage was doubled early in the second with Caitlin Foord lashing home a glorious finish after a length-of-the-field move.
Mary Fowler sent the 22,065 fans at AAMI Park into party mode as her left-footed effort deflected past goalkeeper Zecira Musovic and made it 3-0 with less than 20 minutes to go.
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Kerr gives Matildas the lead
With just over 10 minutes remaining, Foord dinked her second over Musovic from close range after a gorgeous pass from Emily van Egmond, and the rout was well and truly complete.
“I’m just enjoying myself at the moment and enjoying my football, and I guess when we come home we want to take every opportunity to make the most of it,” Foord said afterwards.
“We have found that sweet spot and we want to be an attacking team. We want to be aggressive and we play our best when we are doing that.”
Australia repeatedly soaked up any Swedish pressure before springing forward in waves – a masterclass in counter-attacking football – and had they been a bit more clinical, the margin could have been even greater.
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It was undeniably Australia’s finest performance under manager Tony Gustavsson, who has repeatedly preached for patience ahead of next year’s World Cup.
“I think we struggled for 30 minutes in the first half, and were lucky not to be down 1-0,” he said afterwards.
“We did tactical adjustments with 15 minutes left in the first half that worked out well, and I have to credit the players – it’s not easy to send tactical changes onto the field during the game.
“It’s something we’ve worked really, really hard on for a while to be a flexible team, and a tactical team and work with game management.”
It was Australia’s biggest-ever win over top five opposition, and just their second win against Sweden.
The visitors had plenty of possession after the interval but largely resorted to pot shots from distance, with no real threats to Teagan Micah’s goal, due to both some desperate blocks from defenders, and misplaced finishes.
Matilda Vinberg probably had the best chance to get a late consolation, and a debut goal for herself, but blasted over the top from near the penalty spot.
“I think we had a good first half,” visiting coach Peter Gerhardsson said afterwards.
“A goal changes things, and I think we had good opportunities [in the first half] … but with these goals [Australia scored], something happens in the game.”
Sweden’s captain Linda Sembrant echoed the sentiments.
“The score was very frustrating, but they scored their chances … we will learn a lot from this one,” she said.
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Suddenly, after a brutal stretch in both friendlies and tournaments, it looks as though the team are finally turning a page – this their third-consecutive win, following a mauling of South Africa in England last month, and then a win over Denmark.
Australia will be back in action against Thailand on Tuesday night.
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