The Matildas have been dealt a devastating blow to their World Cup hopes after suffering a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Nigeria on Thursday, July 28.
High off their win against Ireland in their World Cup debut, the Matildas dominated much of the first half with Emily van Egmond scoring the match’s opening goal in injury time.
Nigeria were quick to strike back with a goal from Uchenna Kanu just before the halftime whistle.
Australia worked hard to secure the lead in the second half, however, another goal from Nigeria’s Osinachi Ohale in the 65th minute saw them take the lead.
The Matildas’ fate was sealed when the Nigerian side brought Asisat Oshoala onto the field who secured her team’s third goal of the match.
There was some hope for the Australian side in the tenth minute of stoppage time when Alanna Kennedy scored a goal from the corner. However, it was to no avail with the home side going down 3-2.
Following the match, Matildas’ skipper Steph Catley told Optus Sport that their effort was not up to par.
“It was definitely not our best performance,” Catley said.
“I think we created a lot of opportunities that we potentially could’ve finished … if some of those go in, maybe it’s a different story, but they were great on the counter and finished their chances.”
Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson shared similar sentiments, saying he was pleased with his team’s performance but “disappointed” with the result.
“I think there’s part of this performance that I think is very good,” he told Optus Sport.
“I’m very disappointed with the result, but we know football is won or lost inside of (the) 18-yard-box.
“A couple of mistakes cost us (and) we had enough opportunity to save and score more, but we scored two goals.”
Despite the loss, fans flooded social media with messages of encouragement and support for the team.
There’s still hope! Come on!!!????
— cindylamsy903 (@cidylamsy903) July 27, 2023
Cmon girls, poor tonight but regroup and go again. We must do this on Monday it’s do or die, I’m sure we willl put up a fight ????
— aly????oscar piastri enthusiast (@alyssabarhamm) July 27, 2023
— Wendy Lund (@Wal58Lund) July 27, 2023
We can do it!! Despite the score I think we played well. Heads high Tillies!
— Sam Squiggle (@sam_squiggle) July 27, 2023
Australia will next face off against Canada at AAMI Park on Monday, July 31 where they will need a win over the world No. 7 team in order to advance to round 16.