Matildas endure another Olympics setback with five-goal defeat to Netherlands


The Matildas have endured a second dispiriting setback to their Olympics preparations in the space of four days, suffering a humbling 5-0 defeat to World Cup finalists, the Netherlands, in Nijmegen.

Just as in their 5-2 defeat by Olympic champions Germany on Saturday, Tony Gustavsson’s Australian national team were again acquainted with the vast gulf in class that separates them from the world’s best in Tuesday’s hopelessly one-sided affair.

Helped by the Matildas’ sloppiness in possession and their own incisive attacking instincts, the Dutch, the world’s No.4 side, ran away with goals from Jill Roord, Lieke Martens, Jackie Groenen, Lineth Beerensteyn and Danielle van de Donk.

It was another sobering occasion for Australia, who were three down within half an hour, as their superstar captain Sam Kerr got only one sniff on goal all match, slicing a shot wide in the 81st minute.

The sideshow personal billing of Chelsea’s Kerr versus Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema as a battle between the world’s top two women strikers was also pretty one-sided as the Dutchwoman, even without a goal, proved instrumental in so much of the Oranje’s best work.

The five-goal margin was Australia’s biggest defeat since they lost 5-0 to China 13 years ago and they haven’t conceded five or more in consecutive games in 26 years.

Another tough day behind closed doors at the NEC Stadium began with the Matildas, who made four changes from their starting lineup against the Germans, launching their own downfall as teen Mary Fowler gifted the ball away in the fifth minute.

Passing straight to Martens outside her own box, the Dutch set up Miedema to shoot on goal and, though her effort was saved, the superstar striker nipped in to set up Roord to tap home.

The Matildas were wearing black armbands in memory of goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold’s grandmother, who died recently.

On what must have been an emotional day for the West Ham keeper, she made a bad mistake, letting Martens’ left-foot shot from 20 metres after a quick break slip beneath her in the 20th minute.

A high-press from the Dutch saw them rob a ponderous Australia rearguard, leading to Miedema setting up Groenen for a simple third with the game effectively over after just 27 minutes.

The Matildas did appear to be getting some sort of foothold in the game after the break but were cut apart by a lovely Dutch break in the 67th minute, former world player of the year Martens delivering a terrific crossfield ball that Beerensteyn lobbed expertly over Arnold.

Dylan Holmes came on for her Matildas debut but, while for the large part performing well, also marked the occasion by giving the ball away in the penalty area to van de Donk who sealed the rout with 20 minutes left.