Stats breakdown: Foord adds lethal touch as midfield produces the goods
Caitlin Foord was deservedly awarded Player of the Match honours following the Westfield Matildas' magnificent seven against Chinese Taipei and the service she received helped set her up for success.
Foord delivered a first-half hat-trick in the 7-0 wipeout win to open Australia’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualification bid in style at a soaking Campbelltown Stadium in Sydney on Friday.
The former Sydney FC striker, a new recruit of English Women’s Super League giants Arsenal, was actually the Westfield Matildas starting outfield player that touched the ball the least through 75 minutes of a rain-drenched contest.
But the fact she made such a significant impact in her 43 touches before being replaced by Bayern Munich attacker Emily Gielnik is even more impressive.
Foord’s treble, which arrived in the space of 37 minutes, went down as her 15th, 16th and 17th international goals from her 77 senior caps, and was her second hat-trick in a Westfield Matildas jersey after she took the match ball from the 5-0 win against Chile at McDonald Jones Stadium in November 2018.
The 25-year-old delivered the goods from only five shots on goal – all from inside the box – of which four hit the target. It was not only in front of goal that the Shellharbour native sparkled – Foord came out on top of more duels than any other player in the match, winning eight of the 13 she contested.
While the spotlight shone on Foord for her lethal instincts in front of goal, Elise Kellond-Knight was producing a midfield masterclass in the background as the field general bossed the centre of the Campbelltown Stadium turf.
The Brisbane Roar schemer dominated possession on her 110th cap and filled the stats sheet with a match-leading 133 touches as Australia controlled 80% of possession.
Kellond-Knight recorded almost triple the amount of touches as Chinese Taipei’s leader – Zhuo Li Ping (47) – and made 120 passes at an 86.7% completion success rate to provide the base for Ante Milicic’s side to launch their attacks.
And her midfield partner Emily van Egmond was at her devastating best in converting that possession into opportunities.
The Melbourne City creator touched the ball 43 times in her 45 minutes and, from her 30 passes, she provided an astonishing three assists and created five chances in total.
The 93-cap wonder ran riot in the first half, finding a teammate with both of her crosses and even threatened with two shots on target from inside the box, before being handed a well-deserved break, making way for Katrina Gorry at the interval and leaving some fuel in the tank.
Matchday 3 – Monday 10 February 2020
Campbelltown Stadium, Leumeah
- Chinese Taipei v China PR – 4.30pm AEDT
- Thailand v Australia – 7.30pm AEDT
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Broadcast: Live on FOX SPORTS, Kayo Sports, and the My Football Live App – delayed on ABC TV
International viewers: Live streamed via My Football YouTube channel
Matchday 4 – Thursday 13 February 2020
Western Sydney Stadium, Parramatta
- Australia v China PR – 7.30pm AEDT
Broadcast: Live on FOX SPORTS, Kayo Sports, and the My Football Live App – delayed on ABC TV.
International viewers - Live streamed via My Football YouTube channel