Australia’s Matildas women’s soccer team have been slammed for foolish tactics and team selections in their 7-0 thrashing by Spain on Sunday morning in what’s been dubbed a wasted opportunity to build towards next year’s World Cup on home soil.
The loss was the national side’s first since January this year, and their worst defeat since a 9-1 demolition at the hands of America in 1997.
Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson consoles stand-in captain Clare Polkinghorne after Australia’s embarrassing 7-0 defeat to Spain
Australia rested stars like striker Sam Kerr and defender Ellie Carpenter, prompting critics and soccer personalities worldwide to blast the side for wasting an opportunity to gauge how they compare to one of the best teams in the world.
Spain went into the sheds at halftime with a 1-0 lead, but the wheels well and truly fell off in the second half.
Mariona Caldentey struck in the 48th minute, followed quickly by scores in the 53rd and 57th minutes. Another three-goal barrage in quick time followed in the closing stages of the match.
Irene Guerrero cheers with teammates after scoring the last of their seven goals in the friendly at Estadio Nuevo Colombino
Football writer Joey Lynch led the condemnation by tweeting: ‘Pretty much just melted in the second half. Abdicated the game. This has really devolved into a bit of a flustercluck.’
Director of Special Projects football, Elia Santoro, believed it was ridiculous to field such a young side and ‘rest’ players given the fact there the Matildas have only played three games in as many months.
‘Feeling for our young girls. Even though it’s great experience & will build character, what a load of crap that we needed to rest the Matildas. We had 2 fifa window breaks we didn’t utilise FFS. Spain has played more than us & euros coming up also. Noone asking Qs of NT Coach,’ she tweeted.
‘This friendly didn’t achieve anything. No shots on target, 24% possession, 776 passes to 250, 9 corners to 0,’ Optus Sport football pundit Michelle Escobar wrote.
‘Can’t help but think Tony [Gustavsson, Matlidas coach] should’ve called up the regulars against a world class Spain to get a better idea of where we’re at, World Cup is only 12 months out.’
Fox Sports football presenter James Dodd wrote, ‘Spain are a fantastic team but jeez, talk about picking the wrong moment to experiment. That’s a harrowing loss whichever way you look at it…’
Forward Larissa Crummer works to keep the ball in play during her tough outing against Spain on Sunday morning, during which the Matildas failed to get a single shot on target
Fans were quick to blame the poor tactics on coach Gustavsson, who has been slammed for his decision to rest Matildas stars during an important series of Euro friendlies.
‘Holger Osiek’s sacking came after two friendly demolitions by Brazil and France. Considering Gustavsson has underperformed at every turn and just got hammered 7-0 by Spain I think it’s time he goes. We can’t afford to be embarrassed at the WC on home soil,’ one fan tweeted.
Gustavsson’s coaching record isn’t helping his case to lead them into next year’s World Cup, to be held in Australia and New Zealand.
The Matildas have only won eight times during his 23 games at the helm.
Coach Gustavsson shakes hands with 20-year-old Charlotte Grant who played her fourth cap against Spain
Ex-Socceroo Andy Harper questioned the squad’s ability, seeing as many of the young players were lifted to international level from the NSW National Premier League.
‘You’re playing against Spain away from home a year out from the World Cup. Iron sharpens iron — so this was iron vs wood, with the greatest of respect,’ the 55-year-old told Channel Ten.
‘So a year out from the World Cup, is that when we see if girls playing at that level of football can take on six of the top 30 players in the world?’
On Wednesday the Matildas play Portugal, who sit 18 places behind them on FIFA’s international rankings.