September 26, 2023

Brighton Journal

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Australia 1-0 Republic of Ireland (July 20, 2023) Game analysis

Australia 1-0 Republic of Ireland (July 20, 2023) Game analysis

Co-hosts Australia functioned initially in the absence of injured captain Sam Kerr but a second-half Steve Catley penalty sent them to a solid start at the Women’s World Cup with a 1-0 win over Ireland in Group B on Thursday.

The news that striker Kerr had been ruled out with a calf injury stunned the record crowd of 75,784 when it crept into Stadium Australia but Catley stepped forward to take the armband and score the decisive goal in the 52nd minute.

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Cheered by a boisterous group of countrymen, Ireland made life difficult for the Australians with their tenacious defence, and came close to equalizing during a period of sustained pressure late in the second half.

“It’s unbelievable that we got the win,” Catley told reporters. “I think this is the longest preparation period for a match in my entire life.”

“We lost a player like Sam, probably the best player in the world and she’s such a character, we obviously felt sad. We had to use her spirit…to help us move on. She’s so important, she’s our spiritual leader.”

After a minute’s silence for the victims of the Auckland shooting this morning, the match opened as expected with Ireland getting plenty of bodies behind the ball and challenging Australia in trying to break it down.

The Matildas managed to use their pace on the flanks to get behind the Irish defence, but the huddled rows of green shirts managed to deal with subsequent crosses into the penalty area.

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It was from set pieces that the hosts looked likely to score, and winger Haile Raso had the first attempt at scoring from a corner kick in the 28th minute only to flash her header wide.

The second shot on goal came just before half-time, but Katrina Gorey’s long-range shot was easily slotted into the Ireland goal by Courtney Brosnan.