Sun, Mar 5, 12:40pm by Head Editor
Australia’s national women’s team, the Matildas, have rebounded from their opening Algarve Cup loss to Sweden with a 3-2 victory over the Netherlands.
The Aussies are participating in just their second Algarve Cup (5th placed finish 1999), which is held annually in the Algarve region of Portugal since 1994.
The global invitational tournament is hosted by the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) and is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious and longest-running women’s international football events in the world.
Australia were cruising with a three-goal lead with just 15 minutes to go in the contest, before Dutch striker Vivianne Miedema and then, four minutes later, Sherida Spitse fired home a free kick to ensure the final ten minutes was a tense affair.
Earlier, it was forward Emily Gielnik who took control of the match with a double inside the opening half an hour with two near-identical set pieces. First, aided by the wind, she curled a corner kick directly into the goal to stun the Dutch defence.
Then, from a slightly less acute angle, she produced another gem from the same area of the pitch.
The result lifts Alen Stajcic’s squad to three points, just one behind Group C leaders Sweden but it’s not going to be easy for the world number six ranked Matildas to advance out of an extremely tough group.
In the invitational tournament’s unique format, the top-two teams from across the three groups advance directly to the finals. The Aussies currently sit three points off the pace of Canada (Group A) and Spain (Group B).
Next up, the Aussies face China at 7am on Tuesday morning who held Sweden to a goalless draw in their match on Saturday.
The TAB has listed the Aussies as $1.75 favourites with the Chinese win and the draw at $3.75.
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