Matildas Final World Cup Send-off Ends in a 1-0 victory Over France.

Noah Strang
By:
Noah Strang
15/07/2023
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Matildas take down world no. 5 France in World Cup send-off match.

The Matildas will head into the 2023 Women’s World Cup with confidence after defeating world no. 5 France 1-0 in their send-off match. 

News Insights

  • Matildas Counter-attack football on full display.
  • Fowler scores the game’s lone goal.
  • Matildas get away with uncalled penalty?
  • Injuries already a concern.

1-0 was the final score at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium as over 50,000 Aussie fans watched their Matildas take down world no. 5 France in their last game before the World Cup. Substitute Mary Fowler provided the goal as the Matildas now head into their opening match on a high. 

Matildas take the Win

With the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup less than a week away from its opening matches, the host Matildas played their final tune up game yesterday against France in front of a packed Marvel Stadium. 

The Matildas played their brand of counter-attacking football and were able to defeat the fifth ranked French side by a score of 1-0. 

The result bolstered the sentiment that going into this tournament on home soil, the Matildas are fielding one of their strongest World Cup squads to date. 

Back and Forth First Half

Less than three minutes in Captain Sam Kerr nearly found herself in on goal off a pass from Caitlin Foord but was thwarted by a French defender as she tried to cut the ball back and get her shot off. 

The rest of the half was full of constant action with both teams showing their counter-attack prowess. The Matildas speed was able to consistently put them in positions to find the net, but the final touch was never found as France’s defense bent but did not break. 

The French experienced their fair share of chances as well with the most glorious coming in the 19th minute when a cross into the Australian box was met with a poor defensive header from Steph Catley. The ball landed right at the feet of Grace Geyoro just beyond the six-yard box who fired a volley which was miraculously blocked by Clare Hunt. 

Plenty of chances both ways but the two teams headed to the break all square at 0-0. 

Fowler Makes an Immediate Impact

Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson brought on 20-year-old Mary Fowler to start the second half in place of Cortnee Vine. 

Less than ten minutes after Steph Catley may have been lucky to avoid giving up a penalty from an aerial battle with Eugenie Le Sommer which ended with the French striker flat on her back, Fowler broke the deadlock. 

It was a beautiful string of passes which began all the way back within the Matildas 18-yard box that eventually left Fowler with just the keeper to beat. 

Hayley Raso gained a step on her defender off a through ball from Kyra Cooney-Cross and sent a pass from the edge of the box to a wide-open Fowler in front of goal. Fowler calmy received the pass and off one touch blasted the ball past the French keeper to put the Matildas up 1-0.  

The Aussies would go on to play more conservative and preserved the lead en route to their 1-0 victory. 

Injuries Already Playing a Part

Matildas midfielder Tameka Yallop was substituted off in the 83rd minute after trying to play through a left knee injury suffered from a collision with a French player. 

Although alarming, Tony Gustavsson stated postgame “If it was a World Cup game, she wouldn’t have come off” indicating the injury will likely not be enough to prevent her from appearing in her fourth World Cup. 

France’s Selma Bacha, who was threatening all game, appeared worse off, as her rolled ankle in the 96th minute seemed severe. She was ultimately stretchered off the field in tears in what could be a massive blow to the French side. 

The match result was exactly what the Matildas needed heading into their home World Cup less than a week from now. A 1-0 victory over a side with the class of France is surely a massive confidence boost and should carry over into the tournament in which they hope to make a deep run.