FIFA Women's World Cup: Australia Win 1-0 Against The Republic of Ireland


Australia prove they're still contenders even without super striker Sam Kerr.

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Image by Wikimedia Commons: Author Camw

By Millie Simon

The second game of the FIFA Women’s World Cup saw the co-hosts, Australia, win 1-0 against debutants, the Republic of Ireland.

Less than an hour before kick-off, Australia and Chelsea striker and “poster girl” for the World Cup, Sam Kerr, announced she would miss the next two games following a calf injury that she sustained during training.

Kerr is not only a crucial striker for The Matilda’s, but also the captain, so her absence in Thursday’s game was certainly going to test the team’s composure. Steph Catley wore the captain’s armband instead. The Republic of Ireland were thankful to have midfielder Denise O’Sullivan back after she sustained a shin injury.

The beginning whistle saw six Australian players on the halfway line, which signalled that The Matilda’s intended to press high throughout the game. However, in general, Australia and the Republic of Ireland played evenly.

Ireland were exceptional at defending in pairs and isolated the Australian players so the ball often went out of play before it could get to the penalty box. Australia were, therefore unable to score in open play due to the defensive nature of the Irish players.

One of the most exciting parts of the game was watching Katie McCabe (Ireland captain) and Hayley Raso battle it out down the right wing. McCabe is known for enjoying a degree of physicality during the game and Raso often found that frustrating. At one point McCabe went down with an injury to her fingers but was fit to continue.

A push in the Irish penalty box saw Raso go down which resulted in the second penalty of the tournament. Captain Catley looked calm despite a record-breaking 75,784 fans waiting nervously for the penalty. Catley forced goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan the wrong way, and the ball finished in the top left corner of the Irish net.

Ireland attempted to press but failed to finish. Some doubt Vera Pauw’s (the Republic of Ireland’s manager) decision not to put striker Amber Barrett on the pitch despite scoring the winner for Ireland against Scotland qualified the Girls in Green for the World Cup. But one thing’s for sure, even without Sam Kerr, Australia are still a strong team.

It is important to note, however, that Australia are more experienced in major tournaments, and only winning 1-0 against first-time qualifiers reinforces the fact the Australian side got off to a rather slow start.

Group B currently see Australia ahead with three points and the Republic of Ireland with zero. The Republic of Ireland are set to play Canada on 26 July 2023, and Australia will play Nigeria on 27 July 2023, still without Sam Kerr.