Australia were defeated by Brazil 3-1 in their final hit out before the Rio 2016 Olympics. Here are 5 quick things learned from the encounter against the world no. 8.

1.  Friendlies. In elite sport the objective is black and white – win. In a pre-tournament friendly the objective is colour – learn. A friendly is like a dress rehearsal, a chance to experiment and test combinations and while a winning result is ideal it’s not really the priority. While a top five team owes it to themselves to play every game to win, the Matildas will be better off for taking the proactive approach and converting theory to practice before it costs them a medal.

2.  Possession. For the first time in a long time the Matildas midfield core, which we have become accustomed to, disrupted. Steph Catley’s omission saw Elise Kellond-Knight slot into left back with Kyah Simon, taking the field at the same time as Michelle Heyman, in the midfield. Without the combination of Emily Van Egmond, Katrina Gorry and Elise Kellond-Knight the Matildas were unable to produce their usual fluid playing style and instead turned the ball over, conceded unforced errors and invited Brazil in behind the defence all too often – a costly lesson.

3.  Left Right Out. In reviewing Australia’s most recent matches against New Zealand I asked the question; what do the Matildas do if Steph Catley is injured at a major tournament? While Kellond-Knight did her part, seeing the Matildas so unbalanced without Catley showed just how important her role is.

Apart from the defensive cover, Catley’s speed and athleticism provides width and attacking options down the flank, an attribute sorely missed against a pacey Brazil. It’s no wonder the ever-reliable Catley is one of the first names on the team sheet.

4.  Shape. Under Alen Stajcic the Matildas have developed a signature playing style and refined a reliable starting XI to execute it but, against Brazil, a varied XI appeared to struggle to do that same. While Australia started arguably the better of the sides, the loss of Katrina Gorry to a 60th minute red card saw the structure crumble. While a team traditionally compacts when they go down to ten players, the Matildas looked to stick to their game plan but were exposed when unable to maintain their shape and Brazil found constant joy on the counter-attack.

5.  Dominoes. The Matildas are well known for their attacking prowess and with the likes of Lisa De Vanna, Kyah Simon and Sam Kerr as the tip of the iceberg rightly so. Supporters have grown accustom to watching the Australians pepper shots on goal, flexing their fitness to expose opposition but against Brazil the Matildas couldn’t settle into any attacking groove.

To understand the attack, you have to consider the defence; without the speed and width of Catley and Foord the Matildas struggled to ignite purposeful counter attack confined to the same movements through the middle which, already impacted by the absent Kellond-Knight, were all but absolved with Gorry’s exit. The Matildas are a well-oiled unit so expect results to come when all parts are working together – from defence to attack. Finding a "Plan B" continues to be a question for Australia.