The Young Matildas set-up need to ask themselves a few questions after a deja-vu inducing 5-1 thumping at the hands of North Korea in their opening AFC U/19 Championship match. Here are our suggestions for a few of the answers...
Older, wiser but not wise enough
This match was a particularly interesting insight into the youth development of both Australia and North Korea, following the Junior Matildas' 3-0 drubbing at the hands of the PRK in the AFC U/16 Championship less than a month ago.
Unlike the Juniors, who were thoroughly outplayed across the entire pitch in September, the Young Matildas put up more of a fight...at least at the beginning.
In a woman-on-woman scenario, we're a solid match for North Korea, who it should be remembered are a renowned powerhouse of the sport at this level.
Tactically, Leah Blayney's squad offered a more substantive approach, at times. This is no particular shot at Rae Dower - the intelligence to put a strategy into place is, as you would expect, far more developed. But any cohesiveness was very short lived.
But similar to the Juniors, we ran into familiar problems. A lack of oversight defensively meant we were far too easily entrapped in predictable overlapping runs out wide. Between the 15th and 30th minutes, North Korea burst through our shellshocked defensive line in wide positions so often, and with such repeatability, it actually became a little hard to watch.
Then there was the eventual collapse. From 2-1 down and a fairly stable, sometimes exciting progressive approach until the 74th minute, to a 5-1 loss as the heavens both literally and metaphorically broke loose.
A poor finish to the match and a poor start to the tournament.