Australia’s Dominant Victory Over Canada Saves Them from Group-Stage Exit at Home Women’s World Cup, While Olympic Champions Face Historic Elimination
Australia’s Dominant Victory Over Canada
Following a disappointing loss to Nigeria, the Matildas were determined to secure a victory to ensure their qualification without relying on help from already-eliminated Ireland. The tension eased early in the match when Hayley Raso capitalized on Canada’s uncharacteristically poor defending. Steph Catley’s well-placed cross led to Raso’s goal, which was confirmed after a VAR check.
Raso came close to scoring a second goal shortly afterward, but an impressive one-handed save by goalkeeper Kailden Sheridan denied her. Mary Fowler, back in the team after missing the Nigeria game due to concussion, thought she had doubled the lead, but VAR ruled out the goal due to an offside interference by Ellie Carpenter.
Nevertheless, the co-hosts didn’t have to wait long for their second goal. Just before halftime, Raso completed her brace by poking the ball home from close range after a chaotic corner situation. At the start of the second half, Canada’s head coach, Bev Priestman, made four changes in an attempt to secure a necessary point for qualification. However, their efforts fell short as Australia extended their lead further before the hour mark, with Caitlin Foord setting up Fowler to finish on a counter-attack.
In a tense match, Matildas goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold showcased her skills with a crucial save, denying Canada’s Deanne Rose as they aggressively pressed for a goal. However, the co-hosts efficiently held their ground to secure the victory, with Steph Catley sealing the deal by converting a penalty in second-half stoppage time.
Notably, the Matildas achieved this triumph without risking their star player, Kerr. Despite declaring herself fit for the game after missing the first two matches due to a calf injury, Kerr remained on the sidelines, witnessing her team’s success. With this win, Australia secured the top spot in Group B, courtesy of Nigeria’s inability to defeat Ireland. As they advance to the last 16, Kerr can now rest and prepare for the upcoming match against the runner-up from Group D, likely avoiding England. The identity of their opponent will be confirmed on Tuesday.
In this crucial match, the true hero for Australia was not Kerr but Raso. The energetic winger proved to be a persistent threat to Canada, particularly in the first half, and could have secured a hat-trick if not for VAR. Her clinical finishing was evident, adding the much-needed touch of precision that the Matildas had been seeking.
Australia will watch on tomorrow to see who their last 16 opponent will be. England are currently in pole position to top Group D while Denmark sit in second and would be the Matildas’ opponent as things stand.