Matildas kick off World Cup with nervy 1-0 win over Republic of Eire

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Steph Catley has stood tall as captain in Sam Kerr’s injury-enforced absence to ship the Matildas a 1-0 victory over Eire of their Girls’s World Cup opener.

Australia’s marketing campaign suffered a hammer blow when Kerr was dominated out of Thursday’s night time’s sport and the following sport in opposition to Nigeria with a calf damage suffered in Wednesday’s closing coaching session.

In line with Soccer Australia, the Chelsea striker might be assessed after the Matildas’ second group B sport in opposition to Nigeria in Brisbane on July 27.

Vice-captain Catley wore the armband and stepped up within the 52nd minute to take a penalty after Hayley Raso was introduced down, coolly dispatching the profitable spot kick into the highest nook to ship Stadium Australia into raptures.

The sellout crowd of 75,784 was a brand new Matildas document on dwelling soil.

Kyra Cooney-Cross blocks the cross of Eire’s Heather Payne. Photograph: Getty

Mary Fowler changed Kerr in Australia’s beginning line-up in opposition to Eire and was the one change to the staff that beat France 1-0 in Melbourne within the closing heat up.

Caitlin Foord led Australia’s assault in Kerr’s absence.

Coach Tony Gustavsson opted for Alanna Kennedy to pair with Clare Hunt within the centre of defence as an alternative of veteran Clare Polkinghorne.

As anticipated, Eire parked the bus, enjoying 5 on the again and giving the Australians a inexperienced wall of gamers to get via.

For greater than 45 minutes, it labored.

The Matildas probed early with out reward, struggling to interrupt down the Irish and taking some nervous-looking unfastened touches.

Katrina Gorry was in all places, controlling the sport from midfield, whereas Raso’s frantic power and tempo saved the Irish on their toes and she or he had a fiery battle with Irish skipper Katie McCabe.

Australia’s greatest early probability arrived within the twenty seventh minute when Raso nodded a Catley cross simply large, whereas Foord hit the aspect netting eight minutes later.

Australia broke via when Kyra Cooney-Cross lifted a diagonal ball into the penalty field and within the chaos, Marissa Sheva bundled over Raso.

Foord initially picked up the ball however handed it off to Catley, who made no mistake in changing the penalty.

Fowler, Foord and Gorry had good possibilities so as to add to the lead however couldn’t put them away.

Australia seemed nervous as Eire pressed for an equaliser late however held its nerve.

McCabe despatched in a harmful nook within the 71st minute that Arnold punched to security and three minutes later, Denise O’Sullivan despatched a shot approach over the bar.

-AAP