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The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: Matildas v Chile

by Ben Somerford on Nov 13, 2019

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The Matildas rounded out this week’s Chile friendlies with two wins in front of record-breaking crowds in Sydney and Adelaide as the side moves on from their 2019 Women’s World Cup pain.

In Australia’s first matches since bowing out in France in the last 16 against Norway, the Matildas triumphed 2-1 and 1-0, with a double from Sam Kerr in Sydney and an Emily Gielnik winner in Adelaide.

A new era commenced with cross-code talent Jenna McCormick making her international debut while veterans Lisa De Vanna, Elise Kellond-Knight and Kyah Simon were all absent.

GGArmy’s Ben Somerford assesses the good, the bad and the ugly from the matches.

The Good
Ellie Carpenter continues to get better and better at international level and prove herself reliable and consistent. Her tireless shift on Tuesday night showcases what she brings to the side; energy, creativity and positivity.

Even during her post-game interview, she was full of positivity, laughing at herself for being “excited” about the new W-League season.

Carpenter’s ability to get in good attacking spots and whip in dangerous balls gives the Matildas another dimension. She may not always pinpoint the ideal pass, but more often than not, something happens when she gets the ball.

The Bad
Australia haven’t found their ruthless streak. On paper, two wins from two matches is great, but they were tense against world number 37 Chile, triumphing 2-1 and 1-0.

Daniela Zamora should’ve equalised from a second-half set-piece on Tuesday, while a speculative Carla Guerrero shot took a deflection off Kerr which hit the woodwork late. Don’t get me wrong, the Matildas had more chances and deserved the win, but they left themselves open to a leveller, which fortunately didn’t occur.

The 2-1 win in the first game, where Chile pulled a goal back late, caused unnecessary anxiety for fans, players and coaches alike in stoppage-time and is a worrying trend. Coach Ante Milicic made that point clear, when he said: “It looks like you're holding on in the last five to 10 minutes - it never should have got to that. We need to be better at that."

The Ugly
It’s tough to be hard on Matildas superstar Sam Kerr but her penalty issues are a concern which needs action. It’s time for Milicic to ponder Kerr relinquishing the responsibility, after firing a poor spotkick at Chile keeper Natalia Campos. Other options include Tameka Yallop or Emily van Egmond.

Kerr missed a penalty in the 2019 Women’s World Cup Round of 16 defeat to Norway. That miss must be playing on her mind, as she approached Tuesday’s spotkick with a long pause, before executing a hopeful strike. Kerr’s powerful effort was low but within comfortable reach of Campos. It was hardly buried into the corner, despite the venom on it, leaving it open to a 50-50 chance, with the goalkeeper to go one way or the other.

Again, it’s tough to be too critical of Kerr. She’s a star but she has a chink in the armour. Having been lumped with the burden of captaincy, it’s time to relieve her of this responsibility. There’s better options. Save her the stress.