Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Coach proud of Matildas' gallant defeat
By Adrian Warren
Proud Matildas' football coach Tom Sermanni is lamenting a lack of polish and a costly defensive lapse, as a gallant Australia suffered a 1-0 loss to powerful Brazil in their first women's World Cup group match in Monchengladbach, Germany.Ranked 11th in the world, eight places below Brazil, a young Australian side including right-back, 16-year-old Caitlin Foord and midfielder Emily Van Egmond, 17, competed well in the game played early on Thursday morning (AEST).Australia enjoyed more possession in the first half and Brazil imposed more pressure after the break.Rosana lashed the ball home with her left foot in the 54th minute, after the Matildas failed to clear on the edge of their area."I think we had three chances to clear it," Sermanni said with a rueful chuckle."If you look overall at the 90 minutes, I thought we defended exceptionally well and we were punished for a bit of sloppiness."I was really pleased with the way we played and the opportunities that we created and the fact that they more than held their own against Brazil."Obviously, it was a little bit disappointing with the result but, outside of that, I'm really proud of the performance."The Matildas had a few late chances, the best of which striker Lisa De Vanna hoisted over the bar after she was put clear in the 87th minute, while Heather Garriock and Tameka Butt each had a shot saved.It wasn't De Vanna's night as she also squandered Australia's best first half opportunity.She miscued a shot wide after Brazil captain and defender Aline lost control of the ball on the edge of her penalty area."I think that was the story of our game. We probably just lacked a little bit of composure," Sermanni said."We created some good passages of play going into the final third and just didn't quite finish off the way we would have liked."Early on, midfielder Collette McCallum curled a free kick over the bar and Kyah Simon had a chip acrobatically saved at the near post, as Australia started well.For the most part, the Australian defence contained Brazil's celebrated striking duo of Marta and Cristiane, although each had a chance late in the first half and Rosana also went close twice before the break."It was a tough, really difficult match," said Brazilian coach Kleiton Lima.Brazil's midfield took control after the goal."I think when Brazil scored, it knocked the wind out of our sails for that 15 or 20 minutes, but the important thing then is we still held on," Sermanni said."I thought we finished the game really strongly. We didn't throw in the towel, but we kept going 'til the end."Sermanni reports no major injury problems and said Australia will definitely look for a win in their second game on Sunday against Equatorial Guinea, who lost 1-0 to Norway in the other Group D fixture.