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Women’s World Cup: Australia Edges Past Republic of Ireland in Tournament Kickoff

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Australia Women's World Cup

In the World Cup opener, a decisive penalty scored in the second half by Steph Catley ensured a 1-0 win for Australia, co-hosts of the World Cup, against newcomers Republic of Ireland in Sydney.

Acting as captain in place of Australia’s main striker, Sam Kerr, who had suffered a calf injury on the eve of the match, Catley drove home the winning goal in the 52nd minute.

Despite a strong first-half performance by the Republic of Ireland, a mistake by Marissa Sheva who fouled Hayley Raso led to Brazilian referee Edina Alves awarding the decisive penalty.

Kerr, expected to also miss Australia’s next game against Nigeria, was jubilant on the bench with her team, but careful not to exacerbate her injury.

Attempts at an equalizer by Megan Connolly, Katie McCabe, and Louise Quinn were fruitless, allowing the hosts to commence their World Cup journey with a victory.

Australia v Republic of Ireland – Reactions and Daily World Cup quiz: Knowledge of the past 24 hours.

Australia’s inaugural match, following New Zealand’s surprising victory over Norway, was a challenge due to the Irish defense.

Despite their disappointment over losing Kerr for the first two games, Australian fans created a lively atmosphere in the fully-packed Stadium Australia.

However, the match lacked the expected excitement as the first half was dominated by the solid defense from the Republic of Ireland.

Australia, missing the commanding presence of Kerr, struggled to find clear chances, with their best shot coming from Raso’s near-miss from a corner.

Despite their limited possession (29%), the Irish showed danger in their counter-attacks. However, Katrina Gorry intercepted a promising pass from McCabe to Kyra Carusa.

Despite Caitlin Foord’s potential threat, the Irish defense kept her in check. A feeble long-range shot by Gorry in injury-time reflected the Australian frustration at their inability to crack open Pauw’s successful defensive strategy.

The goal in the second half revitalized the Matildas. Mary Fowler made a promising attempt, followed by Gorry, before Pauw made substitutions to alter the game’s momentum.

The changes seemed to invigorate the Irish side, but despite increased pressure, they were unable to find the back of the net.

Australia almost extended their lead, with crucial blocks by Niamh Fahey and Quinn keeping the deficit to a minimum.

Late-game pressure from the Irish, including a deflected free-kick from Connolly and a close miss from Louise Quinn, could not overturn Australia’s lead, and the co-hosts managed to secure the win.

Player of the match:

Katie McCabe, with an average rating of 7.52.

Squad ratings for Australia and the Republic of Ireland are as follows:

  • Foord (5.73)
  • Catley (5.68)
  • Carpenter (5.44)
  • Gorry (5.40)
  • Arnold (5.39)
  • Raso (5.28)
  • van Egmond (5.15)
  • Polkinghorne (5.11)
  • Fowler (4.97)
  • Vine (4.93)
  • Kennedy (4.93)
  • Cooney-Cross (4.72)
  • Hunt (4.54)

Match Stats:

Australia (Home): 63% possession, 13 shots, 2 on target, 6 corners, 12 fouls
Ireland (Away): 37% possession, 9 shots, 1 on target, 7 corners, 9 fouls

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Australia Women’s World Cup

Who scored the only goal in the World Cup match between Australia and the Republic of Ireland?

Steph Catley, who was standing in as captain, scored the only goal of the match, securing Australia a 1-0 victory.

Which player was injured before the match?

Sam Kerr, Australia’s star forward, suffered a calf injury on the eve of the game.

Who was awarded player of the match?

Katie McCabe was awarded player of the match, with an average rating of 7.52.

How did Republic of Ireland perform in the match?

Despite being newcomers, the Republic of Ireland put up a formidable defense. They were particularly dangerous on the counter-attack but failed to score.

What was the match’s attendance?

The match was played at the sold-out Stadium Australia, with an attendance of 75,784 fans.

Is Sam Kerr expected to play in Australia’s next match?

Sam Kerr is also expected to miss Australia’s second game against Nigeria due to her calf injury.

More about Australia Women’s World Cup

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DownUnderDude July 20, 2023 - 5:37 pm

Good start for the Aussies! Without Kerr, it was tough but we got there in the end.

SoccerFan101 July 21, 2023 - 1:08 am

Can’t believe Kerr was out. she would’ve smashed it. congrats to Catley tho.

GoMatildas July 21, 2023 - 11:25 am

What a game!! Nervous start but we pulled through. Catley’s stepping up in Kerr’s absence was admirable. Onwards and upwards!

FootyFollower July 21, 2023 - 12:56 pm

Wasn’t a easy win but a win nonetheless… looking forward to the game against Nigeria, hope Kerr’s back in action.

LeprechaunLass July 21, 2023 - 2:45 pm

We might’ve lost but we showed the world we can hold our own. Proud of the girls in green.


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