‘Bodyline in boots’: Aussie newspaper compares ‘gross and sinister’ Lionesses to Douglas Jardine’s Ashes side and claims ‘cynical and cowardly’ England tried to hurt Sam Kerr in semi-final win of the World Cup
An Australian newspaper has accused the Lionesses of ‘resorting to deception’ in their historic World Cup semi-final victory over the Matildas, with their approach branded as ‘Bodyline in boots’.
A superb strike from Sam Kerr was not enough to seal Australia’s place in the World Cup final against Spain as Tony Gustavsson’s side lost 3-1 to England in Sydney Wednesday.
Writing in The Australian on Friday, however, Will Swanton was in no mood to compliment Sarina Wiegman’s team.
The Lionesses’ victory, he wrote, was “a grotesque victory.” England had “used deception” in an attempt to stop Kerr, replicating the approach taken by Douglas Jardine in the famous “Bodyline” series Ashes.
“A crude, sinister and unimaginative team stooped and lost respect by adopting a desperate footballing version of the nasty tactics employed by Douglas Jardine’s Ashes team during the infamous Australian summer of 1932-33.
An Australian newspaper has accused the Lionesses of ‘using deception’ in their historic World Cup semi-final win over the Matildas
Writing in The Australian, Will Swanton described England as ‘cynical and cowardly’
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“The other term for Bodyline is even more apt for the Matildas’ 3-1 defeat in Sydney. Leg Theory.
“Leg theory, ankle theory, shin theory, Kerr’s foot-trampling theory, almost kick-in-the-face theory… take your pick.”
England allowed the three Australians 11 fouls on Wednesday, including nine in the first 45 minutes.
In his column, Swanton accused England defender Alex Greenwood of deliberately trying to injure Kerr, who was making his first start of the tournament after recovering from a sprained calf.
“You would never see a more blatant and pathetic display of one player trying to hurt another,” he wrote.
‘It was cringe-worthy. Cynical. Ashamed. Coward. Unworthy. Greenwood knew exactly who she was talking to. Specifically, she knew how she wanted to do it.
From the first exchanges, England seemed determined to stop Australia as high as possible to disrupt their pace, much to the chagrin of Matildas fans on social media.
Their tactical plan worked like a charm as the Lionesses dictated the tempo of the game for much of the competition, except for a short period after Kerr’s equalizer when the momentum seemed to be going down. Australia.
Swanton accused the Lionesses of deliberately trying to injure Sam Kerr, who leveled Australia with a superb strike on her first start of the tournament.
England gave the three Aussies 11 fouls throughout the semi-final
The Matildas took the lead for just seven minutes, before Lauren Hemp restored England’s lead and Alessia Russo sealed victory late.
While Swanton called England a “crass and unimaginative team”, the numbers paint a different picture.
The Lionesses had 54 per cent possession against the Australians’ 46, leading the number of shots nine to six, five of which were on target against the Matildas’ four.
And so far at this World Cup, England have scored more goals – 13-10 – and conceded fewer than Australia – three-six.
However, reluctantly, Swanton seemed to accept that England deserved some credit.
“Credit to the Lionesses in the fields, it’s due. They did what they set out to do,” he wrote.
‘Play Rough. Earn. The World Cup semi-finals are a results-based business.