Australia Women's Football team defeated the Republic of Ireland in the opening match of the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023. The Matildas defeated the debutants by 1 goal, thanks to a brilliant spot kick by the captain of the night, Stephanie Catley in the 52nd minute. Starting the campaign without Sam Kerr was really tough but they grinded out a result. Ireland played brilliant football but they were not clinical enough to put Australia in trouble. Read full Australia vs Republic of Ireland highlights from the LIVE Blog below the match report.
Australia suffered a huge blow when Sam Kerr sustained an injury and got out from the first two games of the campaign. Left-back Stephanie Catley got the job to lead the Matildas and she did quite effectively. The hosts started the game with a lot more intensity than the debutants, Republic of Ireland. They were unable to understand the game and were lacking behind the Aussies. Around the 15th minute of the game, the Irish midfield looked well-settled, and they started to connect the dots. Ireland put Australia in serious problems in some moments but they somehow contained the pressure and countered it. The first half ended with a 1-0 scoreline.
It took only 7 minutes into the second half to score the opener of the match and it was none other than the Australian skipper of the night, Stephanie Catley. Australia were keeping possession this half, and after Fowler's earlier skill, Australia looked to keep the ball moving in the middle third until Cooney-Cross spotted the darting Raso, who was bundled over in the box. The Matildas got the spot kick and the skipper finished it with elegance.
It took some changes and time for the Irish side to finally do something in the game and it was all Ireland after 80 minutes. Although, Australia were very much rock solid at the back. Ireland got some chances to score the equalizer but they dearly missed the opportunities. Australia also found an opportunity to extend the lead but they were not clinical as well. The game ended with a 1-0 scoreline in favour of the Matildas. They started their FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 campaign with an important victory.
Australia's World Cup campaign on home soil is underway
5′: Vine again shows her blistering pace to time her run in behind on the left and control a raking pass in the channel. Ireland does well to get bodies over to cover, but they soon concede a corner.
10′: Australia are struggling to control the ball in midfield and set the tempo. Ireland are matching them and defending deep to avoid being caught on the break. It's worked well so far, allowing them to ease their way into the contest.
15′: Ireland enjoys plenty of possession over Australia.
21′: Ireland again deals with the set piece, but Australia recycles possession well on the edge of the box
27′ Catley's left-footed inswinger teases the six-yard line but is headed behind bravely by an Irish defender.
37′: The delay allows both coaches the opportunity to pass on some instructions to their players.
45+2′: Ireland wins the ball in midfield but O'Sullivan has nobody in front of her and is soon swamped by gold jerseys.
46′: The second half is underway.
Australia were keeping possession this half, and after Fowler's earlier skill, Australia looks to keep the ball moving in the middle third until Cooney-Cross spots the darting Raso, who is bundled over in the box. Spotkick for Australia.
Captain for the night Steph Catley sends scored a left-footed penalty high into the left corner.
73': It's taken Ireland those couple of substitutions and a few minutes of readjustment to understand the game
74′: The cross towards the penalty spot is flicked clear
75′: Another corner to Ireland, their third in quick succession but still they couldn't find the net.
78': It's still all Ireland.
81′: Australia almost found the winner
83′: McCabe's first effort is headed clear. Her second effort was also cleared.
88′: Australia are trying its best to not concede an equalizer late into the second half.
90+1′: The free-kick from Connolly clips the wall and whistles behind for a corner.
90+6′: Payne plays the ball down the right and it somehow evades three Australian defenders. Larkin pounces put the cross over but McCabe can't shift her feet quick enough and eventually can only force Arnold into a half-hearted save.
Australia didn't play their best game but it was an important victory as it was their first game of the campaign. A 1-0 narrow lead for the Matildas while Ireland would be disappointed with the chances they missed.