Commonwealth Bank Matildas Head Coach Tony Gustavsson has lamented the team’s performance after Australia went down 3-2 to the Republic of Ireland in Dublin.
Speaking immediately after the game, Gustavsson shared his disappointment with large aspects of the display.
"I think I'm a bit too emotional now to do a good analysis of the game, I might say the wrong things here when I'm too emotional, but I said in the circle with the team afterwards that it felt that they [Ireland] wanted it more than us and that's not okay," he shared.
"With the Matildas, it's in our DNA to always give it 100%, to play a physical game, to be aggressive, to wear the crest on the chest and always play our best and it felt like Ireland wanted it more.
“Obviously, I need to look at myself in the mirror as well to ask could I have done something different to prep the team in terms of that.”
For Gustavsson the stats told the story, even beyond the score line.
“We had 50% passing accuracy in the final third, that means every second pass, we gave the ball away in the final third and then the crossing accuracy was 20%. That means two out of 10 crosses make it to the target.
"It's not that we didn't create enough opportunities to create chances, but we didn't create enough chances because we gave the ball away.”
“It's just a reminder that games are won and lost inside the 18 [yard box] and we couldn't defend our goals the way we normally do.
“When I get distance emotionally, I'm going to have a lot of learnings, but right now it's a big disappointment, a big disappointment.”
Ireland opened proceedings in the second minute with Lucy Quinn’s free kick hitting the post and then going in off Mackenzie Arnold who was in goal for the first half. This start set the tone for the rest of the game with Denise O'Sullivan and Louise Quinn scoring the other Irish goals.
“I do think we we're off from the whistle, I even said it a couple of minutes into the game. We're late. We're late to everything and obviously I need to ask myself could I have done something different.
"We felt really motivated going into the game because there's been a lot of focus on Sam Kerr's 100th game and we said we want to leave our captain with a memory for her life," he continued.
"She will remember this game for the rest of her life so we wanted to play extra for our captain and it didn't look like that tonight. We didn't look energized and passionate the way I'm used to seeing this team, and that's not okay.
"We all agreed on that in the circle and the players as well, that it's not okay.”
The loss was made worse by an injury to Chloe Logarzo in the second half.
While the specifics of the injury are not yet known, Logarzo is not one to go down lightly.
“But I also know Chloe, if she's down like that she's hurt because she's a tough one. That's definitely not what she needs now and not what we need as a team as well. I really feel for her because actually, I think she was sparkling in that first half.
“She was mobile, she was very active in that first half, so again, I don't want to jump ahead, but it's definitely not what she and we need right now.”
While the result wasn’t what anyone wanted, three more players earned their Commonwealth Bank Matildas debuts and two young guns provided highlights – and goals – for Gustavsson.
“There's two players that stand out. Mary Fowler's first half was just world class, oh my, she is so good out there, on and off the ball and the way she sets players up or movement, she's floating out there," Gustavsson said.
"And then her finishing, we know she's brilliant, both with the right and left foot. So her first half was brilliant.
“I think she wasn't as effective in the second half because we didn't attack on the left side in the second half, it was all on the right side, so we kind of lost Mary's ability there in the second half.
“The other one that is really positive is Kyra Cooney-Cross. I think she played very mature tonight, she didn't look like a young, inexperienced player, she looked like a very, very experienced player, especially when she played in that six role and kind of glued our team together with changing the point and winning balls.
"I think she gave away the ball once in the whole first half. So I think Kyra was good as well.”
The players will now return to their clubs across the globe.