Impetus’ Ben Gilby heard from Perth Glory’s Hana Lowry and Sydney FC’s Jessika Nash after the Young Matildas 3-0 loss to Spain today eliminated them from the U20 World Cup at the group stage (17/8/22).
Above: The Young Matildas side who faced Spain earlier today. Photo: Football Australia.
Australia’s dreams of progressing from a fiendishly tough group at the U20 World Cup in Costa Rica are over after a 3-0 loss to Spain today eliminated the Young Matildas.
Ultimately, Spain were clinical in front of goal with Julia Gabarro’s hat trick enough to send them through to the knockout phase and Australia back home.
The Young Matildas were not without their chances. Bryleeh Henry had the Green and Golds’ opening chance of the game. She was allowed to run and dribble down the left flank before moving more centrally and fizzing a strike which was claimed by Adriana Nanclares.
Australia maintained possession well and in the opening stages of the second stanza forced Spain back into their defensive half. This strong spell was highlighted by a Hunter long-range effort which was calmly claimed by Nanclares. However, just like the first half, Spain was able to head down the other end and make their chances count.
Speaking after the game, Lowry highlighted the crushing feeling after the final whistle. “It’s disappointing to get the loss, I was emotional at the end as our journey has come to an end.”
With the Young Matildas placed in a group involving the South American champions, the European champions, and the host nation, Leah Blayney’s side had just about the biggest possible challenge they could have had and despite that, the Perth Glory midfielder is clear that Australia competed exceptionally well and have a lot to be proud of.
“I’m so proud of the girls though as we gave it our all out there and left nothing on the pitch, but couldn’t get the result. The results didn’t go our way in the last two games (against Spain and Brazil), but we’ve been playing the football that we’ve been working on for the last six months – we showcased that to the world. I’m gutted that we’re not progressing through, but proud of what we did.
“I’m proud of our resilience and how we’ve stuck together. This journey didn’t start two weeks ago, it started six months ago and we’ve showcased good football.”
Enter Jassika Nash
Young Matildas’ head coach Leah Blayney made three changes to the starting XI from the opening two games against Costa Rica and Brazil, with Abbey Lemon, Jessika Nash, and Charlie Rule earning starts.
There were mixed emotions for Nash after the match. “It’s disappointing to not get the result that we wanted, but look, we can take a lot away and build on it for the future. There’s so much bright talent to come through.”
Nash, who has been a burgeoning talent in the A-League Women for several seasons, emphasised that whilst this tournament is over for the Young Matildas, the squad themselves are in a really good place going forward.
“The international experience that we take away from this tournament is second to none. We can’t fault our effort, we had nothing else to give. This team are not done yet though!”