A tough day in the office for the Matildas meant a late goal was mere consolation, as Chile proved their worth in a 3-2 victory at Panthers Stadium. Here are three take homes from Saturday's international friendly.
1. Plan B
Early in the game, the Matildas seemed to be swimming, with plan A looking likely to bring the goods. Opportunities were happening, denial was largely due to the quality of Christiane Endler’s goalkeeping and there was a clear plan. However Chile found their feet and confidence as the game wore on, and the Matildas plan A couldn't prevent Chile finding the equaliser in the first half.
With the second half came the necessity to find another gear, take missed chances and find a plan B, even more so after conceding an early goal after the break. Unfortunately, the plan didn’t change, thus not reflecting the urgency needed to find a goal as time was running out. To win tough games, the Matildas are going to need to find that plan B.
2. Playing out from the back
No matter the centre back pairing on the field for the Matildas, it has become clear they are intent to pass the ball out from the back. Often this style of football is difficult to implement at international level, where there are less games to develop the chemistry necessary for this style compared to club level.
With the number of centre back pairings the Matildas have had over the past year, to have all of them comfortable in playing out of the back is a big ask. Today it proved so again, with Chile’s first goal a product of a hospital pass between the centre backs when Laura Alleway’s back pass was pounced on by Maria Jose Urrutia. There have been issues in recent matches with loose defensive passes, and these must be tightened up if this remains the way the Matildas want to play.
3. The Crowd
It was a full house at Panthers Stadium in Sydney’s West, with 15,185 in attendance. The majority of the fans were donning the green and gold of Australia, however the Chileans were also out in force. Finding a home at the south side of the stadium, the away fans made their presence felt, raising their voices in chants throughout the majority of the 90 minutes.
This is a taste of what is to come with next year’s World Cup, two sets of fans, raising their voices and egging their side on to victory. Supporters of both sides made it feel like so much more than a friendly, creating the atmosphere all international football games deserve.