The Good, the Bad & the Ugly: Matildas v Brazil

by Ben Somerford on Jun 14, 2019

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Australia’s 2019 Women’s World Cup campaign was on the ropes at 2-0 down on Thursday but the Miracle of Montpellier turned around their fortunes.

Indeed there was fortune with the Matildas fightback, with Chloe Logarzo’s goal coming from a cross while the winner was a dubious own goal.

But the Matildas showed the fighting spirit which has endeared them to the Australian public.

Now the side are perfectly placed to progress to the knockout stages ahead of their final group game against lowly Jamaica on Tuesday.

The Good
Beating Brazil at a World Cup is always a massive achievement but doing that after trailing 2-0 cannot be underestimated. The resolve and determination of the Matildas must be praised.

In light of the Italy defeat, burdened by expectation, Australia could’ve easily capitulated after conceding twice inside the first half against Brazil. Coach Ante Milicic hailed it “one of the finest Australian performances ever seen” and it’s hard to disagree.

Caitlin Foord’s goal before half-time gave them belief and momentum. In the lead-up to that goal Logarzo’s run into the box and flick-on header were brilliant and arguably the highlight individual act of the performance.

The Bad
The first 38 minutes obviously weren’t what Milicic had desired. Australia were denied an early penalty before Brazil won one of their own, as Elise Kellond-Knight, drafted in at left-back, needlessly fouled inside the box. The penalty was there, even if it was on the softer side.

Steph Catley was caught flatfooted for Brazil’s second goal when she could’ve attacked the ball to head clear, allowing Cristiane in to steer past Lydia Williams with a pinpoint finish.

There was another nervous moment with a late penalty shout for Brazil but Australia navigated the final quarter hour impressively well.

The Ugly
It’s likely to divide opinions but I didn’t like Sam Kerr’s post-game snipe at the haters to “suck on that one”. Don’t get me wrong, Kerr’s comment is far from the end of the world. In fact, if that’s the Matildas’ biggest issue right now, we’re going fine and dandy.

But, in my opinion, the remark displayed the “us vs them” mentality which has dogged Australian football teams in the past, no better example than the 2010 World Cup when media relations were at an all-time low. Yes, Kerr just played 90-plus minutes and was full of emotion after a roller-coaster of a match and she’s entitled to say what she wants. Kerr’s response was towards any negativity via the media or social media associated with Australia’s opening loss to Italy, along with their recent friendly defeats to USA and the Netherlands. The reality is criticism is part and parcel of the game at this level.

You get the impression that criticism had been discussed within the Matildas camp with displeasure, even if Kerr ironically said they don’t listen to the "outside noise", when she’d just retorted the haters. In my opinion, any criticism of the Italy loss seemed quite fair and good feedback. I would’ve preferred to see the Matildas own that.

Of course, if the Matildas can take motivation from shutting up the haters on their journey to the World Cup title, they’ll definitely have the last laugh. All power to them.