This is probably the hardest piece to write. Not because we lost but because as an athlete the best thing to do is to focus on only what you can control. That is the next game.
But you also have to review what has happened in order to best prepare to make amends the next time you step on the park.
No we didn’t have a smooth preparation in the lead up to this match but I feel like our opponents aren’t being respected enough in reports post match.
Italy are ranked 15 in the world. Le Azzure are far from easy beats, in fact we have always struggled against Italy. The way they like to play is quite simple yet difficult. They ware their opponents down and grind out results. They wanted a draw yesterday but lucked out with a win.
Maybe we should have been happy with a draw in hindsight but you never know these things till it is too late.
Unfortunately for our Matildas the performance was riddled with errors. Experienced and inexperienced alike. It was a nervous and tentative first 15 minutes that set the tone for our ball possession throughout the game.
Straight passes, lack of penetrative passes and zero long switches of play increased the frustration of our front lines. The way to break down the Italian way of playing is to switch the ball and attack with pace with overlapping fullbacks.
We saw glimpses of this but it was few and far between. We saw it. That is the main thing.
Defensively, a high line with zero pressure on the ball was always going to be counterproductive but I find it very hard to believe that Ante Milicic has given instructions to play in this manner.
We were just simply on different pages at certain points of the game. Transition killed us but it didn’t cost us goals. All players make mistakes. Some cost goals. It’s ludicrous to think we need to bench players because of one mistake. Lots of mistakes on the other hand might warrant some change.
It’s the first game, it’s not a disaster and it certainly doesn’t warrant the barrage of criticism that media is wailing on the coaching staff and players.
Don’t blame the FFA either, it’s football and it’s still possible to fix these problems before we face Brazil.