"I've never had this feeling before in terms of belief and genuinely thinking we are capable of beating anyone on any given day"

After a strong performance led to a disappointing 1-0 loss to Sweden, Matildas' coach, Tony Gustavsson and defender, Steph Catley spoke to Tokyo 2020 media about their feelings on the match, looking onwards to their battle for bronze against the USA. 

"I didn't say I was proud about what they've achieved, because we have unfinished business here in this tournament, but I did say that I'm very proud about how they performed," the intent head coach said when asked if he had told the team he is proud of their achievements.

When speaking about the loss against Sweden, Gustavsson was uninhibited in his response.

"I'm extremely disappointed right now. I'm very emotional. So I'm going to try and not talk too much," he said.


“If they scored a worldie, they’d had a fantastic attack, then hats off, but that type of goal hurts. It felt like it was against the play - that we were the better team at that point.

"I've lost some games in my career as a coach, but losing this way... When I think from the first minute, these players have shown such bravery and an attacking mindset and belief in what they're doing," he shared.

"Before the game, everyone was talking about Sweden being the best team in the tournament, playing fantastic attacking football from the first minute that we wanted to dominate this game, there was no fear whatsoever, it was all confidence and belief.

"I think performance-wise, we performed a phenomenal game of football and if you look at the stats, we had 45 balls in the attacking goals on and they had 21, it's a double amount against Sweden, a top-ranked team in the world," Gustavsson continued.

READ: “We still have unfinished business. For now, we’re just focusing on the bronze medal match.”

"Now, we need to recover and make sure we perform as well in the bronze medal game."

Catley shared the same disappointment but is also focused on the next task and is excited to be playing with a feeling she's 'never had before.'

"I think we're obviously very, very disappointed right now, we came here with the ultimate goal of making the final and winning gold, but I think we have to refocus pretty quickly because we came here to win a medal and we still get that opportunity." she said.

"The football we're playing right now is incredible. I'm so proud of the girls and their effort, the way that we go about it and the way that we're playing.

"I've never had this feeling before in terms of belief and genuinely thinking we are capable of beating anyone on any given day. So it'll be another test for us, but I think we're definitely up for it so disappointed right now, but on to the next."

Gustavsson was also asked about his feelings on Sam Kerr's controversial disallowed goal.

"I haven't watched it back yet, but I'm obviously disappointed that we had the disallowed goal.

"It was a phenomenal serve from Steph [Catley], she has been amazing on set plays, Sam Kerr's header was amazing. I don't understand why it was disallowed, so I need to see that."

Catley backed up Gustavsson's comments saying the disallowed goal was not explained to her either.

The Maildas against Sweden in the Semi-Final

"I didn't get to speak to the referee, she didn't answer me or say why it was disallowed," she said.

"Maybe some of the other girls were able to speak to her, but it didn't look like anything clear, in my opinion."

When asked about tactics going into the battle for bronze against the US, Gustavsson said the Matildas will continue to harness their belief, while focusing on creating more chances.

"When we played the US in the group stage, we showed that we could play different ways against them, but we were very true to who we are, and we have been through the whole tournament," he said.

"Steph is onto something when she says we need to keep believing in what we're doing and who we are and what we're capable of. 

MORE: Matildas go down to Sweden, setting up bronze medal match

"If we play our best game and believe in what we do, we're capable to play anyone and I think that's number one.

"Obviously we will look at the last game against the US and see what we can do differently, to create some more chances," he continued.

"I think our defending was very, very solid in that game and that's why we kept a clean sheet, but I also think we could do more in the attacking side of the game, which we did today against Sweden even though unfortunately it didn't pay off on goals, but I'll take a look at that starting tomorrow.

"I'm going to allow myself to be a bit disappointed tonight to get that out of the system and then tomorrow is going to be back to normal, me being passionate about bringing home a medal to Australia."

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