By Aaron Hindhaugh •
Published: 01 Aug 2023 • 8:30
Women's World Cup trophy
Australia used the energy of a home crowd to spur them onto a thumping 4-0 victory against Canada, instead of being frightened by the occasion.
The co-hosts have done what New Zealand couldn’t and progressed past the group stages and keep a home nation interested and engulfed in Women’s World Cup fever.
It was a pretty simple equation for Australia last night, beat the Olympic gold medalists Canada, and they would be through to the knockout stages, but with just one win under their belt and coming off the back of a heavy defeat to Nigeria, that was certainly easier said than done.
However, despite captain Sam Kerr only being fit enough to make the bench, that appeared to give the crowd and her teammates the lift necessary to put on a show in Melbourne as they raced into an early lead after just nine minutes when former Manchester City winger Hayley Raso fired home.
It sent all the Australian fans in Melbourne into delirium, while also sending shockwaves throughout a Canadian side that were yet to taste defeat in the Women’s World Cup, but their most crucial game saw their players freeze in the moment and were simply left stunned by what was happening before their very eyes.
Another goal from Raso just before half time helped calm any nerves that were still lingering in the stands, on the pitch, and on the bench as it looked pretty clear that Canada couldn’t cope with the pressure and atmosphere which was being cooked up at AAMI Park.
Second-half goals from returnee Mary Fowler and stand-in captain Steph Catley helped seal all three points for Australia and in the process, also helped them to top their group due to Nigeria failing to beat already knocked out the Republic of Ireland in Brisbane.
It will feel like some achievement for Australia to have put Canada to the sword as they did last night, especially without their captain and potentially best strikers in the world still not fit enough to take any part in the game, but this extra rest could well be what is needed to have Kerr fit and firing in the business end of the tournament.
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Qualified and experienced journalist covering all aspects of news and sport. Specialist in both Men's and Women's football with increasing coverage of golf and tennis.
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