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Sunday, July 10, 2011
Matildas beaten 3-1 by Sweden in WWC

Adrian Warren

Slack defending proved Australia's downfall as they crashed 3-1 to Sweden in the women's World Cup football quarter-final in Augsburg, Germany on Sunday.

The four goals Australia conceded in their three group games had all been the result of defensive lapses but, sadly, the exuberant young Australians didn't learn their lessons.

They conceded two goals in the first 16 minutes against the Swedes, with the scorer of each unmarked inside the Australian penalty area.

A spectacular curling 40th minute shot from dual international Ellyse Perry halved the deficit.

The Matildas started the second half well, but gave themselves a mountain to climb by committing a defensive howler in the 52nd minute.

Sweden striker Lotta Schelin pounced on a loose back pass from centre half Kim Carroll, pushed the ball around Australian goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri and pushed it into an unguarded net.

The gallant Matildas refused to crumble and mounted several attacks and created a number of chances.

Kyah Simon headed just wide, fellow striker Lisa De Vanna also went close and substitute Tameka Butt had a header and shot on target.

Sweden also went in search of more goals in the final half hour, but the Australian defence held.

Matildas coach Tom Sermanni made two changes to his team, bringing in Perry and Emily Van Egmond for Clare Polkinghorne and Samantha Kerr.

It was a chequered night for Australian World Cup cricket representative and Matildas' right back Perry, who was beaten down her side in the lead up to both of Sweden's first two goals.

In the first instance, Therese Sjogran had time to control the cross and fire in a shot which Barbieri couldn't stop at her near post.

Eight minutes later, Lisa Dahlkvist rose unchallenged to head home from close range.

Australia struggled to get a foothold for around 20 minutes after Sweden went 2-0 up, but the Europeans didn't create any other meaningful chances.

The Matildas gradually clawed their way back into the match in the last 10 minutes of the half.

Midfielder Collette McCallum threatened from set pieces.

Her 40 metre free kick in the 38th minute almost caught out the Swedish goalkeeper, who watched the audacious attempt just miss the target.

McCallum's short corner to Perry produced the goal that gave Australia hope.

The multi-talented youngster controlled the ball with her right boot and curled the ball in from the extreme right-hand edge of the area with her non-preferred left foot.

Perry and Van Egmond,were replaced by Butt and Polkinghorne just before the hour, while McCallum gave way Sally Shipard with just over ten minutes left.

Sermanni said he was proud of the way his team played during spells of the game, particularly during the second half and the last part of the first.

He thought Sweden looked shaky at 2-1, but said Australia would find it hard to win games until they eliminated mistakes.

"At halftime at 2-1 we felt really comfortable and well in the game," Sermanni told SBS.

"I think we were until we made another mistake and you can't make mistakes at this level.

"When you consider the goals we've given up in this tournament and the way that they've done that, I think we've done extremely well to get where we've got to.

"But you can't be a winning team and defend well for 90 per cent of the time and give opposition easy goals."

Perry, who was part of the winning Australian team at last year's T20 cricket World Cup, downplayed her goal and admitted some responsibility for Sweden's first two goals.

"I think I was just in the right place at the right time," Perry told SBS about her goal.

"It was nice to get a goal there because they obviously scored those first two goals from plays down my side of their field, so I kind of felt like I owed the team a little bit.

"It was lovely to put one in the back of the net, especially being a defender it doesn't happen too often," said Perry, who scored her third goal in 16 internationals.




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