Waltzing Matildas outdanced by Brazil

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An enthusiastic and vocal crowd of 2,583 turned out in force to support the Matildas on a steamy day in Brisbane. The game was high in skill and attack despite the tropical storm hitting the pitch and forcing many fans to seek shelter high in the stand midway through the first half.

Despite a torrid week of media speculation surrounding a fall out between the playing group and coach Hesterine De Rues, the Matildas put in a spirited performance and showed plenty of heart in the contests for possession. The big problem for the Matildas wasn’t the enthusiasm but their execution.

Playing in conditions that would rival their Asian Cup locale of Vietnam, both teams managed to control the ball well despite the greasy conditions.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) boss David Gallop was in attendance for the first of the two warm matches that are the precursor to the Matildas all important defence of their Asian Cup crown next month.

Sadly all the pre-game talk had been squarely focused on new coach Hesterine de Reus who is now subject of an internal investigation centering on player disharmony following her perceived tough coaching style.

At the post match press conference, de Reus was happy to answer questions on whether the allegations has disrupted her team’s preparation this week. The Dutch coach is very keen to see the matter resolved as soon as possible and sees it as a huge distraction as the team aims to finish strongly with the sole aim of qualifying for the next years FIFA World Cup in Canada.

“I didn’t read anything, I’m totally focused on the job I had to do here.” She said.

The players however were keen to deflect any talk of the alleged squad rift rather preferring to concentrate on what played out on the park against the classy South American side.

Temeka Butt’s tireless running proved a headache for the Brazilians and her combination with Emily Van-Egmond is one to watch closely when they come up against their tough Asian Cup Group opponents Japan.

Elise Kellond-Knight and Kate Gill also impressed after creating plenty of fine attacking runs and will take plenty of heart from matching the skill level of the sixth ranked team in Women’s World Football.

The physicality of the Matildas showed through as they outmuscled their more fancied opponents in many of the contests. There will be no doubting coach De Rues will attempt to fine-tune the set pieces and shooting drills could well be the order of the day as they look to find the net in Wednesday’s match.

Both teams had numerous opportunities in an entertaining first half until a damp pitch slowed the pace but not the enthusiasm as the teams went to the break locked at nil all.

Brazil finally gave the scoreboard attendant something to do in the 67th minute when Debora “Debinha” Oliveira took on Matildas keeper Brianna Davey in a one on one contest to score and briefly silence the large contingent of Australian fans.

The goal seemed to lift the Matildas to find the equaliser as they built more pressure in the dying minutes of the match.

Kate Gill’s hot shot from a sharp Kellond-Kinght cross was blocked before Michelle Heyman then pounced on a sloppy back pass only to find her shot miss the target as the match wound down to the final whistle.

The signs are great for the women’s game in this country and the narrow loss will give the team confidence as the continue building momentum.

For now though it is all about Wednesday and for coach Hesterine De Rues a win on the field will do plenty to deflect some of the attention and headlines away from her management methods.

Matildas: Brianna DAVEY; Teigan ALLEN; Clare POLKINGHORNE (C); Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT; Emily VAN-EGMOND; Lisa DEVANNA; Tameka BUTT; Alanna KENNEDY; Steph CATLEY, Katrina GORRY; Michelle HEYMAN

Brazil: Fabiana SIMOES; Bruna BENITES; Andreia ANDRADE; Thaisa MORENA; Tamires GOMES; Debora OLIVEIRA; Miraildes MOTA; Rosana AUGUSTO; Cristiane ROZEIRA; Thais PICARTE; Andressa ALVES

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