The Matildas were dominant against Canada from start to finish despite the crushing pressure of knowing their home World Cup would have been over had they lost in Melbourne following their upset loss to Nigeria last Thursday.
Hayley Raso scored a brace, Mary Fowler should have scored two but VAR controversially ruled one offside, and substitute captain Steph Catley put an exclamation point in the process with a late penalty.
It was the biggest win by a Matilda team at any World Cup, and even better, the Aussies were in control so firmly that injured superstar Sam Kerr never had to be called up.
This is how Daily Mail Australia rated the home team…
He made a few mistakes in the last game which may have taken a toll on confidence, but ‘Macca’ was back at his best in this match, making a couple of crucial saves but also returning to being the brilliant dealer he had been.
Ellie Carpenter: 6
Brilliant to see the Lyon star at least return to decent form. She is such a talented player, one of the best in the world, but where has that spark gone? Carpenter was determined to defend better than the devilish Nigeria match, and she certainly did, but the Aussies want to see the superstar they fell in love with.
Clare Hunt: 8.5
The girl from the small town of Grenfell (NSW) was gigantic. There aren’t many better players on the field than Hunt, who has really knocked Kennedy and Polkinhorne out of the first-choice CB job. The challenges that she won, the time that she won them and the distribution that she gave to those in front of her were phenomenal. She may not want to attract attention, but she was as important as any Australian player.
Anna Kennedy: 6.5
Many expected him to give his place to Clare Polkinghorne, but Gustavsson chose his most talented central defender. While he didn’t quite reach the heights of a brilliant game against Ireland, it was calmer than the Ireland game and, despite some passing errors, he was
Steph Catley: 8.5
My God, has the deputy skipper stood up or what? He faded, as expected given the state of the match, as the game progressed, but the Arsenal jet were at their lethal best on the left, setting up the opener with exquisite touch. Then came the defensive growl: she was strong.
Hayley Satin: 9
Hang it in the Louvre. The fan favorite celebrating a goal that sent the entire nation wild to open the scoring was one thing, but Real Madrid’s new signing went on to show her new club Galactico why they signed her. Unrelenting as ever, but his positioning and intelligence were brilliant, and he seemed to regain his confidence and composure with his first touch, and the fact that he, once again, often ended up behind Carpenter showed just how hard he worked.
Catherine Gorry: 7
Not the best match for the workhorse, with some very heavy touches, but the side is much better for her regardless. He seems to be in a lot of pain and will be more crucial than Sam Kerr when he makes the playoffs. He worked his ass off and chased down every mistake.
Kyra Cooney-Cruz: 7.5
A brilliant distributor, Gorry could have been the most important passer on the team, but this young Matilda has been sensational. Did they find out? Do not believe it. She never looks flustered, but she has a better touch than her veteran counterpart.
Emily Van Egmond: 6
He flirted between the midfield and the forwards, and neither of them had much influence. But he certainly didn’t let anyone down, despite not posing much of a threat.
Caitlin Foord: 9
The happiest person on the Australian team could play Mary Fowler. The shackles were untied and the Arsenal star looked like a different player, freed from the enormous burden she seemed to be carrying with the Nigerian defeat. The first touch, the through balls… the effort to chase down defense: she was a woman possessed.
Mary Fowler: 9
Fowler is elated after her goal gave the Aussies a 3-0 lead, after her opening goal was controversially ruled out by VAR for offside.
One thing is for sure, when Sam Kerr (hopefully) lines up in the Round of 16, Mary Fowler will be there either way. What an impressive performance. The first touch, the dribble, the pass… it’s the whole world of Mary and we just live in it.
Clara Polkinghorne: N/A
Replaced late, as he has the last two, and luckily didn’t need to make a difference on this one.