Matildas’ latest win is evidence of massive mindset change
THE Matildas’ stunning 8-0 rampage win over the Philippines on Sunday is evidence of a massive mindset shift, according to Tony Gustavsson.
Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord ran rampant at Optus Stadium in Perth in each scoring hat-tricks, with Clare Wheeler and Mary Fowler also chipping in during the domination.
It’s Australia’s second consecutive Olympic qualifier win after also defeating Iran earlier last week.
Gustavsson was most pleased with what he believes is a mindset shift from when he first started in late 2020.
“I want to put the game in perspective first, when I came on board a few years ago, a lot of people told me ‘this team needs to be an underdog, they can’t play good football when they’re favourites’,” he told Paramount+.
“To put that into perspective when you see what these players did tonight when all pressure is on them, we are the favourites, there’s not much space behind the backline but the bravery and the confidence in the attacking game today [was outstanding].
“We’ve spent a lot of time trying to improve that over the time and I think the learnings from the World Cup [helped].
“Then [coming into qualifiers] we had two trainings and two meetings and they play this way, I’m extremely impressed.”
It comes after the Matildas punched above their weight to go all the way to a World Cup semifinal earlier this year.
Philippines are 44th in FIFA’s women’s rankings. But for further context, they defeated New Zealand in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, who had defeated 13th-ranked Norway just a game before.
The win is set to see Australia advance to the third and final round of Olympic qualifying next February.
But there’s no confirmation for exactly how long Gustavsson, a former assistant with team USA, will stay with the Matildas.
He’s been linked to the top US job but said he’d addressed that topic with his players.
“I did it before the tournament even started, there’s always going to be noise around, there’s always going to be speculation,” he said.
“This group is extremely professional so it hasn’t influenced them at all, we have a very good relationship, we know what we’re doing.
“We’re focused on the game and one game at a time and one training at a time and I think you saw that in the performance today and we’re influenced by nothing more than the performance.”
– SEB MOTTRAM/ SEN