Richard Parkin on 9 November 2019
A record home crowd in to witness the Matildas’ first competitive hit-out post France World Cup. Some cobwebs and heavy legs - no doubt it’s been a punishing week in camp, but also some decent play in passages. Australia dominated possession and offered a lot more going forward, all-in-all, a solid showing from the Matildas.
Jenna McCormick made her international debut and looked composed in the heart of defence, while veteran Aivi Luik put in a trademarked composed performance ahead of the back four. Ellie Carpenter and Hayley Raso posed the Chileans all sorts of headaches down the right flank, while who else - Captain Kerr - was once again the spearhead up top. The eighth time in her career she’s scored a brace (or more) in one match for the Matildas.
Fans will go home happy, but the coaching staff will be disappointed at failing to secure a clean sheet - something that’s been incredibly elusive since Ante Milicic has taken over.
These two sides now have three days to freshen up before they face each other again in Adelaide.
Thanks for your company - we’ll see you again then!
Sam Kerr post-match saying she thought the Matildas performed well for 75 minutes but the skipper was very disappointed with the final minutes and the late concession.
She wasn’t too disappointed with Chile’s set defence - saying it represented a new challenge for Australia to try and unpick and control possession.
Full-time: Australia 2-1 Chile
And there’s the whistle! A late scare, but in truth it was a match they looked in fair control, the Matildas.
No overt celebrations from Australia, even a small shake of the head from Sam Kerr. You imagine a clean sheet was a big talking point pre-game.
But they get the result, even if the performance was a touch scratchy.
90 + 1 min: Three minutes added on, and the fair contingent of Chilean fans comes to life late on, celebrating their side’s goal.
Some tired bodies out there for the Matildas. You’d imagine Milicic would have liked to make a few more changes but they’re short a few bodies with a reduced squad to choose from.
Goal! Australia 2-1 Chile (Saez)
89 min: Hello. A bit of late excitement, as the defender Saez steals in at the near post unmarked!
It was a straight forward corner - should Williams have had that covered, or was it Carpenter who lost her player? Either way, she ghosted through paper-thin resistance to head into an empty net, the Rayo Vallecano defender.
A late blot on the copybook, and another clean sheet goes begging.
88 min: Xamora is released by a long ball and Checker does well to force her a little wide, but it’s an excellent shot and Williams does even better to tip it round the post!
86 min: 20,029 the reported crowd - which is officially a record for a Matildas match on home soil. Great turn out, and a great day out in the sun at Parramatta Stadium.
84 min: Williams off her line to sweep ahead of Zamora, and she might have taken a slight knock, the veteran ‘keeper, who collects a shin to the face. Hopefully she’s okay.
And it’s the last of the outfielder players, Jenna McCormick comes off and it’s a long-awaited return for Emma Checker.
82 min: The Matildas enjoying some patient possession at the back, just taking the sting out of proceedings after a frenetic few minutes.
Kerr is clattered just outside the box, and that did look a freekick. Nothing given. A wry look on the skipper’s face.
79 min: Another rampaging run from Carpenter - it comes across for Gielnik who doesn’t connect cleanly, it falls to Logarzo - free at the back post - and she skims the side netting!
What a miss - what a let off for Chile, as the midfielder stretched for it, and just flicked it the wrong side of the post.
77 min: Chile now with a set piece from deep, but Guerrero’s strike isn’t clean and sails well wide of Williams’ goal.
Has she had to make a save today, yet? No more than one, surely, if at all.
74 min: And a second sub from Milicic - it’s Emily Gielnik on for Raso, like for like down the right flank.
Logarzo and Catley combine well, and they set up a shooting opportunity for Harrison, but the Sydney local lifts it over the top! Great chance, she throws her head back in disappointment.
Goal! Australia 2-0 Chile (Kerr)
71 min: Foord finally finds the right release, and it’s Kerr through one-on-one with Endler. The big ‘keeper spreads herself and gets a slight hand on it, but can’t prevent it from wriggling under her body.
It’s a brace for captain Kerr. She scores for country, she scores for club. What a phenomenon.
69 min: It’s a reduced bench for Milicic, with injuries in camp, late withdrawals and non-selections - just three outfield players to choose from.
And one of those becomes Australia’s first sub - as Harrison comes on for Van Egmond.
67 min: Chile showing a bit more attacking intent this half, as Lara looks to get a move going down their left. It breaks down before Logarzo almost gets things going with a smart give-and-go.
Raso colliding heavily with Guerrero - it’s heavy contact, and the Chilean stays down.
64 min: Foord earns a freekick from the new face Galaz, who has just arrived as a sub. Aedo becomes the first in the book for a bit of backchat.
The Matildas try a set piece routine, but it doesn’t come off. Not the best use of a set piece, but what are friendlies for if not to experiment?
61 min: A drinks break for both sides on the hour mark. It’s a warm day in Sydney. Not that the fans mind the break - great singing and chanting inside this fine footballing stadium.
58 min: Santo with a strong challenge on Kerr on the edge of the box. Now Van Egmond is just a little slow in finding Raso, and the winger expresses her discontent.
Are they a little sluggish at times, the Matildas? Is this signs of a hard week in camp, and perhaps some heavy legs on show?
A disappointing off-the-field situation at Parramatta Stadium. There are of course rules in place from Fifa about politic messages inside stadiums, but you have to think a bit of common sense could go a long way. How dispiriting for these Chilean fans:
54 min: Carpenter with another marauding run down the right, and tries to fire a ball centrally but again Chile’s defence scrambles well. They’re getting a workout at the back, but one set piece aside, have largely stood up to the test.
51 min: Foord looks to feed Kerr, but she’s marginally off the striker. They’re not quite on the wavelength today - Australia’s almost telepathic forwards.
Carpenter now looks to find Kerr, but it doesn’t stick.
48 min: A series of corners for Chile, this is a better start for the visitors, but the Matildas do well to clear their lines.
Logarzo now pinged for what you could only call a “robust” challenge from behind. A bit naughty, that. Pardo appears to not be suffering ill-effect.
45 min: No rest for the wicked, we’re back out at Parramatta Stadium and the home fans are sounding in fair voice.
One change for Chile at the break, as Australia pick up where they left off.
So - your thoughts on that first half?
It was a quality strike from Kerr, but from a set piece. Have the Matildas created enough from open play? There’s criticism from some quarters that the build up play is a little heavily patterned, or over-rehearsed - is that your read?
Half-time: Australia 1-0 Chile
45 min: Chile with a rare foray into the Matildas’ back third, can they conjure anything just before the half?
It’s a deep cross from Lara, but it’s overhit. And there’s the final whistle.
Sam Kerr, who else, has proved the difference again so far. Her outrageous form just continues in the green & gold.
43 min: Clever ball into the box from Logarzo - she feeds Raso, and again it’s a brilliant interception from the ‘keeper, Endler. She’s so quick to read the play and so brave in diving at the feet of attackers. Brilliantly stuff.
40 min: Polkinghorne with a rare chance to drive forward. That’s another feature of the Milicic era, looking to have centre backs that are comfortable in possession, and happy to initiate play, ball at the feet.
37 min: This is good crisp stuff from the Matildas and again it’s the overload down the right hand side that creates an opening.
Carpenter with a terrific ball across the face.. but it just avoids Kerr! What a chance - great build up, Australia.
35 min: Matildas corner and it’s a terrific claim from Endler. Haven’t we seen an improvement in the goalkeeping stakes in women’s football across the last five years or so. And she’s one of the best, Endler. She was long-listed on the World Cup players of the tournament in France. Quality player.
33 min: Ooph! That’s a blistering strike from Chile, and it only just flies over the crossbar. A lovely move, Urrutia prominent, before laying off a ball for Pardo from midfield who thumps an effort that has Williams flying.
And that’s the danger - for all their early possession, the Matildas, if that goes in we’re all square! Great cat and mouse stuff.
30 min: Desperate defence from Soto - this has been a good little patch from the Matildas, who are beginning to lay siege to the Chilean goalbox.
29 min: Foord now bursting through the centre - she has both Kerr and Raso ahead of her, but she opts for the latter, and Endler flies off her line to save at the feet. Great ‘keeping from the Chilean skipper.
26 min: Catley and Foord combine well down the left - but it’s a crucial interception by Chile’s Lopez, who anticipates the cutback.
Despite the bright start it’s a slightly tense Milicic pacing the touchline - he’s eager no doubt to be working on a bunch of combinations ahead of Tokyo, and there have been a few passes here and there going astray.
22 min: Speaking of the youngster, it’s Carpenter who sparks a terrific opening down the right, but Raso can’t quite control her firmly struck pass, and the Chilean defenders step in and clear.
It looks like a back-five so far for Chile, and they’re definitely working overtime early on. The problem with a packed defence is of course finding outlets to attack with once they do get the ball.
20 min: Van Egmond rises well to head an effort goalwards. She was found brilliantly by the vice-captain Catley - what a picture of consistency she’s been over the years. She’s a player we don’t talk about as much with the rise of young guns like Carpenter, but as we saw at the World Cup, she’s still absolutely crucial to the team.
17 min: Australia with a corner and it’s clipped in by Luik. Van Egmond looks to fire in a second ball but she can’t beat the first line of defence.
Chile are struggling to find sustained possession, as the Matildas look to press and prevent them from playing out from the back. So far, it’s very effective.
15 min: Australia with two-thirds of possession early on - it’s the patient style we’ve become familiar with under coach Milicic, but they still look to play vertically when they can to hit the obvious threats of Kerr, Foord and Raso.
13 min: Goal disallowed! Chile have the ball in the net - but it’s correctly chalked off. In fairness, Williams didn’t play at that, so perhaps knew the whistle was coming.
A clever instinctive flick, but from a player in an offside position. A warning shot though - you do get the sense that Chile are exactly the kind of nation who can conjure something from nothing if the Matildas don’t take their chances today.
11 min: The experience Lara clips Carpenter, and it’s another dangerous set piece opportunity for the Matildas. This time it’s the left-footed Catley who fires it goalwards, but Chile scramble it clear.
A very positive opening from the Matildas - there’s no post-World Cup hangover/deflation still lingering over this squad.
8 min: Luik looks to release Raso - gee, she’s been prominent early on. It could be a long day for Chile’s left back. It’s a terrific raking ball, but the Brisbane Roar flyer is caught slightly on her heels and can’t keep it in.
6 min: Raso looks to skip down the touchline - she thinks she’s earned a corner but no dice. No VAR in this game by the way - relief as that may come to many fans. Otherwise we’d be debating whether Kerr’s early effort should have been wiped out for any potential microfoul/transgression in the buildup.
Goal! Australia 1-0 Chile (Kerr)
3 min: EArly set-piece opportunity as Raso in brought down in a dangerous area. Van Egmond clips to the far post and Chile fail to clear their lines. It falls to Kerr in the box, can you believe that - and the sharp shooter makes no mistake! It’s a rifled effort low, and into the bottom left corner - Endler with no chance!
29 goals in her last 31 Matildas appearances. This incredible and prodigious goalscorer continues to deliver. Wow.
1 min: It’s Australia getting us underway with a direct play forward, looking to put Chile immediately under pressure.
Early possession is with the Matildas as they look to pass it around but Chile avert the danger.
The skippers Kerr and Endler exchange pendants - which means kickoff can’t be too far away!
The Matildas going through a very quick second warm up after that sombre commemorative lead in.
A more sombre moment as part of Remembrance weekend commemorations. The reading of the Ode, the playing of the Last Post. Rituals very connected with the historic role the armed services have played in Australia, in the two world wars and conflicts since then.
Our players have headed out onto the pitch, in splendid Sydney sunshine. A few messages in the crowd to the people of Chile, who have been embroiled in not insignificant protests lately. Nice to see a fair presence from South American expats adding colour and passion to the spectacle.
But both anthems are impeccably observed. The debutant McCormick looks like her heart was going to leap out of her chest - what a moment - your international debut for Australia.
So without ado, to team news:
It’s effectively a full-strength available line up for the Matildas, and there is a starting debut for Jenna McCormick in the heart of defence - what a big day for the South Australian. The veteran Aivi Luik will anchor the midfield in the absence of Kellond-Knight, while Hayley Raso gets the nod ahead of Bayern Munich’s Emily Gielnik up front.
Williams (GK); Carpenter, McCormick, Polkinghorne, Catley; Luik, Van Egmond, Logarzo; Raso, Kerr (c), Foord
For Chile, Paris Saint Germain’s ‘keeper, and their skipper returns between the sticks for a side that’s turned a little to youth - watch out for the experience Sevilla duo Lara and Aedo to worry the Matildas:
There are a few faces missing from the Matildas squad - most notably, the 150+ capped Lisa De Vanna. Coach Ante Milicic has been at pains to say the veteran hasn’t been retired and remains in contention for the Olympics squad - pointing out that Kyah Simon and Mary Fowler are also missing from this series - but you do wonder if this is the end for one of Australia’s all-time greats.
I had the immense pleasure of sitting down with Lisa pre-World Cup, and she’s definitely a no-nonsense, straight shooter. Great to hear though that she’s thinking of possibly doing some coaching - it would be brilliant to retain somebody of her experience in women’s football in Australia.
There’s also no Elise Kellond-Knight, who has elected to remain in Brisbane to work on her fitness ahead of her return back home to Queensland with the Brisbane Roar.
But there are two uncapped players in the squad - Emma Checker and Jenna McCormick come in to provide much-needed coverage at centre back, where Alanna Kennedy is suspended, following her World Cup red card against Norway.
Afternoon all! I hope this finds you well from around the world, wherever you’re following our coverage. A big g’day to our North American audience who love their WoSo, and where there will no doubt be plenty of key observers following the NWSL MVP and lead-goalscorer, Sam Kerr, and plenty more in store.
If you want to get in touch, shoot us an email or tweet to join the coverage - we’d love to hear your thoughts about this one.
The road to Tokyo 2020 Olympics starts in one of Australia’s newest cauldrons of football, as the Matildas come together for the first time since the France World Cup, in front no doubt of an expectant, boisterous and appreciative home crowd in Sydney’s Parramatta.
On paper it’s World No 8 plays World No 37, as visitors Chile return to Australia, but as last year’s two-match series showed take those rankings with some salt, given the lack of support women’s football has had in Conmebol over recent years. It will be no accurate reflector of the individual talent in the squad of South America’s third-best nation.
Last series Chile stunned Alen Stajcic’s Matildas with a first-up 3-2 win that almost jeopardised the Matildas’ World Cup pool ranking; a 5-0 second leg saw some redress that in Newcastle.
Which Chile will we see today? Hard to say - probably somewhere in between? But for many fans it will be just about seeing their own heroes before their eyes. Sam Kerr and co are back, and we should be in for a treat.