4th December 2023

* Melissa Barbieri is a former captain of the Matildas and made 86 appearances for the nationwide aspect between 2002-2015

No Sam Kerr and a fully bruising encounter however the Matildas have gotten their World Cup underway with three factors below lock and key – and wasn’t the environment electrical in entrance of 75,000 followers at Stadium Australia?

I used to be on the market and I can inform you the Irish supporters have been out in pressure. It was completely electrical.

READ MORE: Why Matildas ‘weren’t sincere’ about Kerr damage

READ MORE: Matildas survive large scare in opener

PLAYER RATINGS: How the Matildas fared in opposition to Eire

In the event you had requested me earlier than the sport, I’d’ve taken a 1-Zero win in opposition to a tricky Eire outfit. I even predicted the scoreline. Eire coach Vera Pauw made it vehemently clear that her group was going to be a tricky group to interrupt down, and that they have been.

Melissa Barbieri pictured as captain and goalkeeper through the Matildas’ 2011 FIFA Girls’s World Cup quarter ultimate conflict with Sweden. (Getty)


The Matildas have been resilient, robust in challenges and matched the physicality of the Irish. So the match was not fairly, nevertheless it confirmed character. Katrina Gorry doing the arduous yards in midfield alongside Kyra Cooney-Cross meant that we had an additional wall in entrance of the backline. Gorry making some essential challenges in midfield meant ahead forays by the Irish have been thwarted earlier than they gained significant alternatives.

Hayley Raso was ever current, retaining Irish captain Katie McCabe on her toes. McCabe is thought for her challenges and banter with the ref, and he or she did not disappoint. Raso was instrumental in successful the penalty that the Matildas’ captain for the night time, Steph Catley, slotted dwelling.

In assault, Caitlin Foord was most harmful when she might bounce off Mary Fowler or Raso, who have been shut and will get in behind the defence through the use of some mixture play. Foord is most harmful dealing with aim, supporting the central striker, not being the central striker. So we will forgive her for being slightly rusty because the No.9.

Hayley Raso was concerned in a tricky battle in opposition to Eire. (Getty)


After her standout efficiency in its place in opposition to France, Mary Fowler wasn’t as spectacular in opposition to a group so bodily. Denise O’Sullivan gave her no time on the ball in any respect and at occasions she was marked out of the sport. Her impression as a sub was sorely missed.

Pauw set her prices in a resolute again 5, so to see Australia constantly attempt the lengthy cross or lofted ball into the field was irritating. The Irish had skilled for months pondering they’d have Kerr to cope with… the ball into the mixer was not working. However that may be arduous to see once you’re within the thick of it.

If we’re to be anticipated to go deep on this match Australia have to see issues within the second quite than ready for half-time. Nearer teammates, motion and shifting opponents earlier than transferring into the field is essential for scientific execution.

Not one participant had a foul recreation for Australia, let’s make that clear. Eire have been adamant they have been going to spoil the celebration on opening night time and so they very almost did it too. Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson, in making an attempt to safe the win, went to a again 5 after we went 1-Zero up.

This virtually immediately put the assault minded Matildas right into a adverse mindset. Including Clare Polkinghorne to the backline does shore it up significantly nevertheless it sends the message, ‘we’re parking the bus now’. I’d adore it if we might transfer to being a group that rides out video games, nonetheless pushing for extra.

Clare Polkinghorne is introduced on for Mary Fowler whereas Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson provides the group directions through the second half of their conflict with Eire. (Getty)


We want one other three factors in opposition to Nigeria in Brisbane subsequent Thursday. They play Canada on Friday, so we can have extra details about each groups come 3pm.

My first thought for any modifications for the Nigeria could be Mary Fowler at central striker, with Foord beneath. This fashion we will have Fowler’s deft contact up high and Foord dealing with ahead working at gamers. That is a win, win.

It’s crucial that we recuperate although, as Nigeria will likely be one other robust, bodily opponent. They’re maybe not as disciplined or nicely ready as Eire however they’re athletic and robust in contests.

Star Matildas ahead Caitlin Foord makes an attempt a shot in opposition to Eire in Australia’s World Cup opener at Stadium Australia. (Getty)

There will likely be a couple of sore our bodies after the Eire match, so fingers crossed all of them pull up nicely.

Not having Sam will not be an issue, however having a number of accidents impacting the three primary attacking gamers in a bunch of 23 could be. So if we lose any extra of our attacking gamers, it will likely be robust to go deep within the match.

For now three factors within the bag and a win is precisely what was wanted from the opening match.

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