Canada Sent Packing By Australia After Shocking Performance
Nobody saw this result coming, but it was one-way traffic Monday night at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium in AAMI Park as Australia rallied off 27,000 loud fans and rocked Canada 4-0.
Haley Raso opened the scoring nine minutes in and unlike the game against Ireland Canada didn’t recover and the team went into the locker room down 2-0.
Bev Priestman made four changes to start the second half, but the team – like what Priestman had said in that first half against Ireland – was clearly shell-shocked.
After the match coming through the mixed zone, Jessie Fleming was in tears as she courageously spoke to the Canadian media to give her reaction.
“I think they got the momentum after the opening goal,” Fleming reacted to the unfortunate result. “They got the crowd going and we didn’t create a lot of chances and it was the wrong night to have a bad performance.”
Bev Priestman said she was numb in her post-match press conference when discussing the loss and the elimination from the World Cup.
“Football can be cruel sometimes,” Priestman answered in her opening answer when bluntly asked what happened with Canada tonight.
“Tonight we got cruelly punished and they got the early goal. I think the team lost belief and I was with them till the very end pushing. It wasn’t our night tonight.”
I asked Priestman if she felt tonight was similar to the game last Wednesday in Perth against Ireland when she mentioned the team in the first half was shell-shocked.
“Yes, I felt whispers and it was there again tonight. That is something this team will learn from. Some moments are hard and even harsh, and these are the moments that make you and we will learn.”
Bev Priestman was asked if she feels like this is a loss that will sting for a long time, but she was quick to say that they need to move on quickly with Olympic qualifiers in September.
“I didn’t expect the team to be that rattled. We looked like we did in the Ireland game and I need to understand why from a mental performance standpoint. We have to move on quickly, because we have an Olympic qualifier to bounce back from this setback.”
Priestman was asked if the opening goal changed her game plan and approach to the match.
“The way we conceded, we didn’t look like ourselves. That was a common theme from the game and at half time, I told them I believe and you have to stick together. I made four changes because we couldn’t get behind their backline.”
Sophie Schmidt, who played her last game for Canada, gave us her reaction and honest assessment of the game tonight.
“Gutted and heartbroken,” she said. “I feel really terrible and I feel we let a lot of Canadians down. Australia came out strong and executed their gameplan and gained the momentum.”
Schmidt was asked about the feeling going into the game and said it was positive.
“We match up well against Australia. The occasion got to us and we were frazzled, and at the end of the day we didn’t perform.”
Canada will now have to prepare for a home and away Olympic qualifier in September against Jamaica looking to qualify for the summer games in Paris.
Header Image Photo Credit: FIFA