Patience was a virtue for Matildas, says Australia coach Gustavsson

Australia head coach Tony Gustavsson praised his sides ability to remain focused in their 4-0 AFC Womens Asian Cup win against the Philippines here.After piling on 18 unanswered goals against Indonesia, the Matildas were kept at bay for 50 minutes by a spirited Philippines defence before their class ultimately produced a flurry of goals after half-time.The result put Australia in the quarter-finals, with a draw or better against Thailand to confirm them as group winners on Thursday, while the Philippines are also likely to reach the knockout stage if they can defeat Indonesia.


PTI | Mumbai | Updated: 25-01-2022 13:41 IST | Created: 25-01-2022 13:32 IST
Patience was a virtue for Matildas, says Australia coach Gustavsson
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Australia head coach Tony Gustavsson praised his side's ability to remain focused in their 4-0 AFC Women's Asian Cup win against the Philippines here.

After piling on 18 unanswered goals against Indonesia, the Matildas were kept at bay for 50 minutes by a spirited Philippines defense before their class ultimately produced a flurry of goals after half-time.

The result put Australia in the quarter-finals, with a draw or better against Thailand to confirm them as group winners on Thursday, while the Philippines are also likely to reach the knockout stage if they can defeat Indonesia. Speaking after the first meeting between the two nations in 14 years, Gustavsson paid tribute to his team's ability to brush off an uninspired opening 45 minutes, which saw none of their 10 shots at goal hit the target. ''We knew this was going to be a very different game from the opening game, and I have to give a lot of credit to the Philippines,'' he said, after watching Sam Kerr, Emily van Egmond and Mary Fowler all find the scoresheet for the second game running. ''I think we were able to stay focused and not get frustrated. What can happen in a game like this is – when that many chances, like we did in the first half, and the stats say you should be up 3 to 4-0 and you don't get those goals – you can tend to sometimes lose your head and get frustrated. ''We talked about that at half-time and said, 'we focus on what we're doing, keep doing it and do it faster than in the first half and the players came with a conviction and confidence in the second half. They knew that, when the first goal comes, it's probably going to lead to a second and a third and a fourth, and so it did.'' No less than 53 places separate Australia and the Philippines on the FIFA World Rankings and the Matildas' legion of European-based professionals were expected to face limited resistance from a team drawing largely from experience in the American college system. But three months of training under former Australian national team head coach Alen Stajcic has helped the Philippines reach a level of play beyond what would normally be expected of the world's 64th-best side, and Gustavsson was full of praise for their efforts. ''It didn't surprise me, because I saw them against Thailand and they impressed me already then,'' said the former United States women's national assistant. ''I showed the players, so they also understood what they were going to face. They were really well organized. You can see that they spent a lot of time together. They probably had a very long prep time compared to some of the other teams in the tournament. They're organized almost like a club team. ''But also, (they showed) fighting spirit. They didn't shy away from a tackle, and they made it a tough game for us. I'm really impressed.''

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