Sunday, 30 May 2010

Matildas: Champions of Asia

Australia defeated DPR Korea in the final of the AFC 2010 Asia Cup. With the scores locked at 1-1 after the Aussies had led early, extra-time saw no further goals and the Aussies won the final on penalties.

And remarkably in the worst sodden penalty spot perhaps ever seen for a Continental final all five Aussie penalty takers scored. Sally Shipard, Kylie Ledbrook, Kate Gill, Heather Garriock, and Kyah Simon all scored to win the Asian Cup for Australia. DPR Korea missing just one penalty as Australia held their nerve.

The Matildas played wonderfully well in the first half. Perhaps the most enterprising of the tournament and after taking the lead early looked pretty comfortable until late in the second half.

Korea DPR an excellent side showed they have plenty of technique as they pressed early but the Australian team has a wonderful defence with Servet Unzular and Kim Carroll looking very composed in the centre of defence.

Australia were able to play much more football than in previous games, with Kate Gill providing some wonderful link play with her tight ball control.

Indeed it was her ball which enabled the ever willing Clare Polkinghorne to play in Sam Kerr. The sixteen yard kept her cool and ran in on goal and coolly finished.

There's clearly more to come from this young Australian, and she nearly won the game for the Aussies in the second half when Polkinghorne released her again, but her rising cross just went over Kate Gill's head, the game at 2-0 surely would have been Australia's.

But DPR Korea hit back and after a quick couple of chances took the game to extra-time with a headed cross finding the net.

The rain poured down in Chengdu and the pitch already struggling after so many games, turned into a quagmire.

But both sides dug in and slugged it out. End to end, tackle for tackle. But no-one could break the deadlock, not for the want of trying. And so to penalties.

A great tournament and a great win for the Australian's with the new defence well tested and well prepared for Germany. They can only get better.

Kim Carroll and Servet Unzular superb throughout, Ellise Kellond-Knight composed adds so much style to the Aussie backline and playing style.

Clare Polkinhorne is a must for any team, who energy and determination perhaps seen as more important than her undoubted passing ability.

Sally Shipard is back and made a huge impact on this tournament she'll be set for Germany. Kate Gill is now the complete player, Coach Tom Sermanni has some nice problems.

Lisa De Vanna injured and Sarah Walsh unable to play the Asian Final and yet Australia were still good enough to take the final.

With Caitlin Munoz, Ellyse Perry just two of a host of other players pushing for a place next year in the World Cup Squad one wonders if Aussie football has ever been so strong.

Sepp Blatter says the future of football is feminine so perhaps it's appropriate that the Matildas are the first Australian team to win in Asia.


Hamish said...

... And may they be the first Australian team to win a World Cup... unless the Socceroos seriously surprise us in SA. ;)

Great wrap Eamonn. So exciting. Such joy. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

The game had everything and was immensely enjoyable to watch.
Kudos to both sides as 120mins is tough even on a good pitch.

Why isn't the football community shouting this victory from the highest bell towers. Our 1st major international trophy.
There should be a ticker tape parade and a national wide tour of the cup.