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

by Ben Somerford on Mar 12, 2020

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The lights may have gone out early but the Matildas have put their names up in bright lights after securing passage to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday.

Whether the 2020 Tokyo Olympics goes ahead is beyond the point, the Matildas have joined their male counterparts in sealing qualification, which is a wonderful feat.

Australia won the second leg over Vietnam 2-1 on Wednesday, in a match which lacked adequate power generators but also intensity.

GGArmy’s Ben Somerford reflects on the victory, which was far from perfect, although in light (pun intended) of the circumstances (coronavirus, empty stadium, delays and the fact the first leg 5-0 win basically killed the tie), that can be forgiven.

The Good
Assuming it goes ahead, the Matildas will be at their second consecutive Olympic Games which shouldn’t be underestimated. When you consider how hard the Olyroos have found qualification over the past 16 years, we should rejoice in our women’s team’s enduring success over the past half decade.

Skipper Sam Kerr scored one and set up the other, making it five goals in Australia’s past seven matches for the superstar. Her continued dominance sets the standard for the group, which are desperate for a breakthrough major tournament win.

Emily van Egmond continues to impress in midfield, along with the tireless Chloe Logarzo. Steph Catley remains Australia’s rock at the back. She just needs a few others to follow her lead.

The Bad
I hate to single someone out but I’m always nervous when Alanna Kennedy has the ball. And that anxiety was justified when Kennedy inexplicably under-hit a back-pass allowing Huynh Nhu in behind for Vietnam’s consolation goal.

Kennedy strikes me as a ticking timebomb sometimes. Alongside Clare Polkinghorne in defence, the Matildas always seem shaky in defence, even if they’re capable on the ball, as shown by the first leg.

The Matildas have only kept four clean sheets from their past 13 international matches.

The Ugly
The penalty woes continue. Chloe Logarzo’s 36th minute spotkick was hit at comfortable saving height for Vietnam keeper Tran Thi Kim Thanh to thwart. I’m not sure why Logarzo was the one to step up either, given Kerr had blasted home a penalty in the first leg.

But it was Logarzo who was the latest on the Matildas penalty taker conveyor belt. She was also the latest to fail.

This all harks back to Australia’s Women’s World Cup exit in a shootout against Norway last year, when Kerr, Emily Gielnik and Steph Catley stepped up. Only the latter scored.

Less than six months after the World Cup, Kerr missed again from the spot against Chile but shook off those doubts by converting in the first leg against Vietnam. Why Logarzo stepped up remains a mystery? The sooner coach Ante Milicic finds a reliable penalty taker, the better, with shootouts possible at the Olympics.