Okay, you could say this about any team. Adopt a well-drilled, consistent pressing game and happen to stage your games in humid, pouring rain and believe it or not, possession teams get a little flustered.

But nonetheless, we saw in the match against North Korea that a sudden degradation in weather and pitch conditions can make us fall apart entirely. If you want to get hyper-critical, you could say the same about teams that press as a unit as well. That's not something that happens to everyone.

It's the old pragmatism v philosophy debate. The Young Matildas aren't a typical possession team, they play with variation, they move forward quickly, purposefully and take certain risks, for instance, they're not big fans of the cut-back and reset manoeuvre.

Which is great if you've got the talent to drop the shoulder, as we do. But we also like to play side-to-side, work the opposition's movement and run triangular interplays in wide positions.

There possibly needs to be a greater emphasis on playing to the conditions, given we have a major physical advantage. There's nothing wrong with playing lofted through balls when you've got excellent technical ability and a height advantage in the final third, yet we very rarely mix it up.

This means when we do mix it up, such as when we're trailing the game with 10 minutes to go, we look out of our depth. Our crossing also really suffered tonight in the downpour.

As we've said at length, our passing isn't consistent enough to risk slow switching passes against a high-pressing outfit. Meanwhile, we've got three-quarters of our team in the attacking third and the ball is sticking to surface like blu-tac, just don't risk it!

When you're struggling to find your feet in horrendous weather, get Kyra Cooney Cross on the ball, hoof it up to Mary Fowler and let the opposition scramble (read: shit themselves) every once in a while.

Just maybe do our hearts a favour and don't leave it until the last minute next time.


And we've seen Spotless Stadium.

Admittedly, we might just be a little annoyed at the quality of AFC's stream (the first time we post it for you all to watch, of course). But in a do-or-die match against a team that merely had to draw to progress, everything worked against us.

If you're hosting a tournament in Thailand during monsoon season, you either need to splash on some irrigation or delay the matches. Let's not even bring the quality of the football into it (which was terrible) the injury risk is completely untenable.

Despite the improvement in the second half, this match probably should have been abandoned at half-time. Like all football matches, it appears a serious injury is required before referees take action.

To their credit, AFC representatives did expect the pitch during half-time and delay the second half while the Thai grounds staff literally bucketed water off the surface, but when you have to remove water from the pitch in buckets, it's already too late.

The other problem with awful conditions is they always encourage nasty tactics. Thankfully the Vietnamese weren't in the 'That wasn't a hack, I fell into her' category, but they certainly didn't mind slowing the game a stop...every few minutes.

It's always fun to watch a team take the ball into the corner flag in the first half, but we digress.

It's hard to take any real lessons from playing football on a waterlogged quagmire, which levels the playing field even though it quite literally does the opposite.

But the Young Matildas deserve a lot of credit for toughing it out in these conditions, given Thailand and the PRK, who's match was held simultaneously, didn't have to endure anywhere near the sort of conditions our field did.


It's perhaps unsurprising that each of the Young Matildas' group stage matches have shown us tactical and performance variations, given Leah Blayney's insistence on rotating the squad.

It's been particularly interesting to see the depth of talent the Young Tillies possess. Yes, the first game was a write-off in hindsight, but Blayney's choice to field fresh faces for each match has proven both exciting and effective.

It's a testament to the depth of talent we have at this level. Our passing accuracy has perhaps faltered as a result - although it's more likely that this is a genuine weakness of our team - but the overall approach hasn't altered dramatically regardless.

Blayney's also shown a willingness to chop-and-change a player's position, with Shadeene Evans pushed to the right wing after appearing at left-back. It's fascinating from a developmental perspective and has the added benefit of making us unpredictable to our opponents.

But it can play havoc with our defensive organisation, even if you largely maintain the same two centrebacks, due to our reliance on bombing high through the fullbacks.

We copped fast-breaks out-wide relentlessly in our first game and it didn't get much better this evening. Vietnam were similarly able to attack quickly and relatively unchallenged down the flanks, garnering a lot of success cutting inside while our defenders chased their own tails.

All the excuses aside, ultimately we were lucky to progress from the group stage. We're going to need a lot more than luck against Japan.