Saturday, April 13

Matildas defeat Denmark to claim first win over top-20 nation in 12 months | Matildas


The Matildas have won their best victory for a year, capping their European road trip with a 3-1 win against Denmark in Viborg.

Despite granting a shock goal after just 47 seconds Australia turned the game with three second-half goals in the space of nine minutes.

It was their first win over a top-20 ranked side since beating Brazil in Sydney last October, and arguably their most impressive since defeating Great Britain at the Tokyo Olympics.

Two goals from Caitlin Foord sandwiched a stunning strike from Katrina Gorry to deliver the perfect boost before the home double-header against Sweden and Thailand next month.

“That feels very good,” said the Arsenal striker. “We’ve been building and the results haven’t failed our way. To get the win against South Africa and tonight is huge for us and for our confidence. I am proud of the way we bounced back and turned the game around.”

A week ago, Tony Gustavsson had been under pressure. Two wins and seven goals later the narrative has changed and the coach will hope to keep the momentum swing going all the way to the World Cup.

The Swede made one change from the XI that defeated South Africa 4-1 in London on Saturday.

Sam Kerr, recovered after illness, replaced Mary Fowler with Cortnee Vine keeping her place after her two goals. Vine justified her selection of her with another lively outing.

Sam Kerr goes for a header under pressure from Rikke Sevecke. Photograph: Johnny Pedersen/EPA

The Danes were without US-based Nadia Nadim while Kerr’s Chelsea colleague Pernille Harder was only fit enough for a spell off the bench, but Australia had plenty of absentees of their own, including five cap centurions.

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That, though, was no excuse for Denmark’s flying start, which came after Steph Catley was overloaded on the left.

She was unable to intercept as Janni Thomsen and Sofie Bredgaard exchanged passes before the former fizzed a low cross that was swept past Teagan Micah by the late-arriving Everton midfielder Karen Holmgaard.

“It was less than ideal start but the belief in this group is strong and we felt calm on the bench,” said assistant coach Mel Andreatta. “We’re pleased we struck to our principles, had a great second half and got the win.”

Within a minute Australia could have leveled. Catley burst down the left flank but Kerr shinned her cross wide from 10 yards out.

The half continued to ebb and flow. Foord and Vine tested Lene Christensen in the Danish goal while at the other end Kerr had to hack off the line after a corner caused chaos. A deflected Bredgaard shot then looped over Rosengard teammate Micah and struck the junction of bar and upright.

Australia took control in the second period and after two Kerr headers brought saves from Christensen they gained a deserved, if fortunately 66th-minute equalizer.

Receiving a pass from Hayley Raso on the right, Foord cut inside then took a shot that deflected off the leg of Simone Boye Sorensen and in.

Eight minutes later, substitute Alex Chidiac stole possession, Gorry seized on the loose ball, looked up, and sent a dipping shot over Christensen from nearly 30 yards out.

Almost from the restart Australia struck again to settle the match. Kyra Cooney-Cross drove forward before finding Foord.

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In one trademark movement, she turned and shot over the stranded Christensen to bring up her quarter-century of international goals.

Australia subsequently managed the game expertly to secure their first victory away to a European team on their home soil since beating France in Angers in 2013.


www.theguardian.com

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