The Australian women’s national team fell to Olympic silver medalists Sweden, 0-1, in the opening round of the Algarve Cup. The loss is a huge setback to the Matildas, who many predicted could advance all the way to the tournament final.
Sam Kerr, the Sky Blue FC forward, earned a spot in the starting lineup for the Matildas. Kerr was accompanied by five other NWSL players in the AUS lineup, including goalkeeper Lydia Williams (Houston Dash), Steph Catley (Orlando Pride), Lisa De Vanna (Orlando Pride), Alanna Kennedy (Orlando Pride) and Hayley Raso (Portland Thorns).
The speed of Kerr and her teammates stretched Sweden’s back line all game, creating multiple opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net. Kerr was a part of the Aussies’ best scoring chances when she found a teammate wide open in front of goal, but her shot soared over the crossbar. Then late in the game, Kerr created some space for herself but had her shot blocked by Sweden’s goalkeeper. None of Australia’s efforts translated into goals, and the Matildas were held scoreless in the match.
Sweden was also held without a goal from a scrappy Matildas defense until late in the game. Sweden’s captain, Lotta Schelin, was able to put Sweden on the score sheet. The goal proved to be enough as Sweden went on to win the game 1-0.
Australia will continue their play in the Algarve Cup on Friday when they take on the Netherlands at 10 a.m. ET. The Netherlands defeated China 1-0 in their opening match on Wednesday.
Australia and China are currently at the bottom of the group standings with one loss and one goal against each.
The games are unavailable to watch in the USA, but fans can stay up to date with all of the action by following the Matildas Twitter account @TheMatildas .
Highlights from today’s action can be seen here.