As Olympic champion Germany lost 5-2 on Saturday, Tony Gustafsson’s Australian team was again aware of the big gap in the class that separated them from the world lead in a one-sided match on Tuesday.
The Dutch, aided by Modildas’ slow pace and their attacking instinct, ran over the goals of 4 world champion Jill Rudd, Leg Martens, Jackie Cronin, Lynette Berenstein and Daniel Van de Tung.
When Gustafsson came to power, his superhero leader, Sam Kerr, was one of those who said that Sweden’s position was “about goals, objectives, goals” and music in his ears.
Unfortunately, in another great opportunity for Australia, it all went into the wrong nets – the hungry Kerr on his side scored just one goal in all matches, and the 81st-minute shot went off target.
The five-goal difference is Australia’s biggest defeat since they lost 5-0 to China 13 years ago – they conceded in five or more matches in 26 straight years.
The side show of Chelsea’s Kerr and Vivienne Miedema of Arsenal in a showdown between the world’s first two strikers was a knockout victory for the Dutch woman who played such a crucial role in Orange’s best creations without even a single goal.
In the two matches fought for Tokyo after nearly 400 days of qualifying, some rust was understandable, and Gustafsson had some confidence in Emily Gelnick’s goals against Germany and Haley Rasu’s ongoing achievement against the Dutch.
But another contrasting scene gave little hope that Matildas could launch a ferocious attack on gold in Tokyo. It was the ninth game in a row that they failed to defeat the European opponent.
The tough day began behind closed doors at NEC, with Matildas making four changes from the starting line-up against the Germans and soon their downfall began.
Brigadier General Mary Fowler went straight to Martens out of her own box, allowing the hosts to prepare Maidema, and despite her effort saving, she fed star striker Rourd to hit her home.
Modidas wore black armor in memory of the deceased goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold’s grandmother.
On this emotional day for the West Ham goalkeeper, a terrible mistake was overlooked when Mortense’s 20-meter left foot let her slip in the 20th minute.
A major Dutch newspaper denied them an amazing Australian encounter that put Miedema Cronen in the simple third and played effectively after 27 minutes.
Modidas gained a foothold after the break, but was cut short by a stunning 67-minute Dutch break, when former World Player of the Year Martens hit a superb cross that spoke brilliantly for deputy captain Berenstein Arnold.
Dylan Holmes knocked out for the first time in the Modildas, but passed the ball to Van de Dong who sealed the ball 20 minutes before the end of the penalty area.
Zelnik, who was not in the starting line-up after the double against Germany due to concerns about a groin injury, returned to the unlucky Holmes, who had the best chance, and walked away from the negative range.