The Matildas continued their rich form, taking three consecutive wins, while stunning world No. 2 Sweden with a 4-0 win in Melbourne.
Sam Kerr scored her 60th goal for Australia just before half-time, and the advantage was doubled early in the second with Caitlin Foord netting a glorious finish after moving the length of the field.
Mary Fowler sent the 22,065 fans at AAMI Park into party mode when her left attempt bounced off goalkeeper Zecira Musovic to make it 3-0 with less than 20 minutes to go.
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Kerr puts Matildas in charge
With just over 10 minutes to go, Foord licked her second over Musovic from close range after a beautiful pass from Emily van Egmond, and the defeat was good and truly complete.
“I’m just having fun at the moment and enjoying my football, and I think when we get home we want to take every opportunity to make the most of it,” Foord said afterwards.
“We have found that good place and we want to be an attacking team. We want to be aggressive and we play our best when we do that.”
Australia repeatedly took Swedish pressure before jumping forward in waves – a masterclass in counter-attacking football – and if they had been a little more clinical, the margin could have been even wider.
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It was undeniably Australia’s best performance under manager Tony Gustavsson, who has repeatedly preached patience for next year’s World Cup.
“I think we struggled for 30 minutes in the first half and were lucky not to be 1-0 down,” he said afterwards.
“We made tactical adjustments with 15 minutes to go in the first half, which worked out well, and I have to credit the players – it’s not easy – for sending tactical changes on the pitch during the game.
“It’s something that we’ve been working really hard on for a while to be an agile team and a tactical team and work with game management.”
It was Australia’s biggest ever win over the top five opponents, and only their second win against Sweden.
The visitors had plenty of possession after the break, but for the most part resorted to pot shots from distance, with no real threats to Teagan Micah’s goal, due to both desperate blockades from defenders and misplaced finishes.
Matilda Vinberg probably had the best chance of getting a late consolation and a debut goal for herself, but shot over the top from close to the penalty spot.
“I think we had a good first half,” said visiting coach Peter Gerhardsson afterwards.
“A goal changes things, and I think we had good chances.” [in the first half] … but with these goals [Australia scored]something is happening in the game.”
Swedish captain Linda Sembrant agreed with the feelings.
“The score was very frustrating, but they scored their chances… we will learn a lot from this,” she said.
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Suddenly, after a brutal spell in both friendlies and tournaments, it seems as if the team is finally turning a page – this is their third straight win, following South Africa’s mauling in England last month, and then a win over Denmark.
Australia will return to action against Thailand on Tuesday evening.
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