A debut international goal from Larissa Crummer ensured Australia a 1-0 win victory over the Netherlands in their opening match of the Cyprus Cup.
After coming on as a second half substitute, the 19 year-old Queenslander scored the game’s only goal in the 73rd minute as the Matildas edged out the team that currently sits one place below them in the world rankings and has made significant strides forward in the past 12 months.
“She has been doing really well in camps and probably the only thing missing so far has been that execution in the final third of the field, so it’s great for her to come on and score her first international goal and for it to be the winner makes it all the more special,” Australia coach Alen Stajcic said of Crummer after the match.
Stajcic was proud of the way his team played and the progress he has seen since the squad’s first camp in preparation for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015.
“It was a tough game. We played against a world class team today, they (the Netherlands) have improved a lot over the past 12 months,” he said.
“We had good patches during the game as did they, the difference was we took one of our six or seven chances and managed to keep them out.
“Generally it was a pretty pleasing performance but the biggest thing was winning against some world class opposition knowing there’s a lot of room for improvement.”
In her 50th international appearance, Elise Kellond-Knight led the Matildas out in Larnaca against a country they had met just four times previously, the most recent occasion being at last year’s Cyprus Cup in a game that ended 2-2.
The Netherlands could have argued to have had marginally the better of the relatively even opening 45 minutes, with its best chance of the half coming in the 20th minute when Kirsten van de Ven skied her effort over the bar.
Seven minutes later, at the other end, Australia had claims for a penalty waved away by the referee after Emily van Egmond went down in the penalty area.
Stajcic made his first substitution just after the hour mark bringing Crummer on for Kyah Simon, with the deciding moment of the match coming ten minutes later as Lisa De Vanna slid a ball through to Crummer who snuck her shot in at the far post.
De Vanna then very nearly doubled the Matildas' advantage shortly after, but her effort went just wide of the target.
Crummer’s strike proved enough for Australia to take all three points, despite late Netherlands pressure.
In the other Group B match, England defeated Finland 3-1.
The Matildas' second match of the tournament is against the sixth ranked English in Nicosia early on Saturday (AEDT) morning.