April 17, 2024

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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

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

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

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Cheered on 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 to win,” Catley told reporters. “I think this is the longest preparation period for a match in my entire life.”

“Losing a player like Sam, possibly 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 forward. 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 Australia challenging to try and break it down.

The Matildas managed to use their speed on the flanks to get behind the Irish defence, but the green shirts managed to deal with the later passes into the penalty area.

The hosts looked the most likely to score from a set piece, and winger Hayley Raso scored the first try on goal from a corner kick in the 28th minute only to light her header wide.

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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.