Matildas suffer first up defeat to the Oranje

The Westfield Matildas have commenced their European tour suffering a 3-1 loss to a primed Dutch outfit.

The Westfield Matildas have commenced their European tour suffering a 3-1 loss to a primed Dutch outfit.

The game was locked at 1-1 going in to the halftime break with the opening 10 minutes of the second spell seeing the Aussie-s gain control, however the game began to stretch out and a double display of beautifully timed finishes allowed the Dutch ladies to edge forward and leave the Matildas in the lurk.

The Dutch defense was under pressure in the opening few minutes with Michelle Heyman & Lisa de Vanna creating some early opportunities yet they were unable to convert the chances to goals.

A breakthrough came for the Netherlands in the 12th minute when they dissected the Australian defense as Lieke Martens slotted the ball past Westfield Matildas goalkeeper Brianna Davey into the right hand corner of the goal to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.

The early deficit did not deter the Aussies as Australian midfielders Katrina Gorry and Emily van Egmond started to get on top in the centre of the park.

The pressure was rewarded when a stunning left-foot strike by Gorry in the 27th minute saw the Matildas draw level at 1-1 with the team continuing to gain confidence and control possession.

In the closing minutes of the first half the Australian defense held strong as striker Lisa de Vanna efforts help out the back line, along with Davey's shot stopping skills, ensured that scores remained level as the teams left the field at the half.

Kim Carroll and Elise Kellond-Knight were injected immediately after the break in a bid to add some composure in to the back-line. The pair were under pressure shortly after as the spaces between the lines began to open, as did the defensive block of the Australians, providing room and time for the Netherlands to create attacking chances.

In the 58th minute the Netherlands restored their one goal advantage, as Martens claimed her second goal with a clinical shot passing the outstretched hand of Davey. Unfortunately for the Australians, the game was put to rest with the final effort of Sherida Spitse in the 83rd minute as the hosts claimed a 3-1 victory.

Westfield Matildas Head Coach Hesterine de Reus believes the Aussies were good in patches but have plenty of room for improvement as their European tour continues.

“In the first half I think our midfield took control, you could see that Holland needed to play a lot of long balls because they couldn-t play through,” said de Reus.

“I think in the second half it began to stretch out. Our defensive line dropped so we then had too much space in the midfield, we lost control.”

While Australia-s performance was initially strong, the Matildas lack of match fitness was telling as the game wore on.

“We played very well in the first half. I think in the second half it dropped a bit, due to conditioning. Holland is in their top of preparations for the European Championship and we have an empty year. So we have only had some camps. I think that made a difference,” continued de Reus.

“I-m looking forward, I-d like to see improvements in holding our shape for the whole 90 minutes & more aggressiveness in our defense in the midfield. I did not see many explosive runs from the midfield, so this is also something we can look to improve.”

The Westfield Matildas will play again on Tuesday against Dutch club team ADO Den Haag before flying to France for their final match in Europe against France.