The Matildas are prepared to risk conceding goals in their second clash with Canada if it means nailing down their focus on building up in possession.
Australia relied heavily on springing counter attacks during their golden Women’s World Cup run, where they reached the semi-finals.
But before this month’s friendlies, coach Tony Gustavsson said he wanted to develop their build-up play ahead of February’s Olympic qualifiers against Uzbekistan.
‘We’ve also seen that we’ve struggled a little bit to play through lines, which means, come the Olympics, we don’t want to be as predictable in our attack and we want to improve playing through,’ he said.
‘I try to stay away from [calling it a] possession style because we don’t just want to keep the ball for the sake of keeping the ball.
Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson has said his team is prepared to risk conceding goals in their second clash with Canada if they play a better style of possession football
With Australia fielding a number of fringe players, the Matildas were outclassed 5-0 by Canada (pictured, substitute Mary Fowler in action during the match)
‘We are a goal-scoring machine that want to score a lot of goals and attack a lot and play vertical. This gives us the tools to be able to do that more often.’
Creating build-up play proved a difficult task in the opening 5-0 loss as Canada swept aside an experimental starting line-up, with the Matildas conceding three goals by being dispossessed in their own half.
‘That mistake is on me. I knew we would push them to the limit,’ Gustavsson said.
‘We tried things to see where we’re at and what that looks like.
‘And I think the players committed to it, so it’s a credit to them. If someone should be criticised, it should be me, I can take those hits.
‘We struggled to get out of our own half a lot. But we chose not to just push up and go long and play a second-ball game.
‘We chose to go all in, in that game and it cost us three goals and getting dispossessed in our own half.’
A far more experienced starting line-up should prove a more tenacious opponent for Canada, who are sending off all-time leading international goal scorer Christine Sinclair, on Wednesday in Vancouver.
Simple errors proved Australia’s undoing, with three Canadian goals coming from Matildas making mistakes on the ball (pictured, Matildas striker Remy Siemsen)
But Gustavsson has promised to stick to his guns style-wise.
‘It’ll be interesting to see if we can take that learning experience and improve, but it might cost some as well,’ he said.
The Matildas will also need to cut out supply to in-form Canada striker Nichelle Prince, who scored a brace on Saturday.
‘Maybe that’s our bogey player – the player that we struggle playing against,’ Gustavsson said.
‘But that’s what we’ll be exposed to: these fast-paced players that have the ability to break the backline with well-timed runs and good finishing.
‘Normally the best way to stop them is actually to stop the pass that goes to her.
‘Because once she does get that run she’s very difficult to stop.’
Kick-off is 2pm AEDT on Wednesday.