The final international break of 2019 came to a close across the globe yesterday with some big scores, a few surprises, and the Lionesses back in the winning books. We were privileged enough to catch some of the action live from Adelaide, where the Matildas beat Chile, and also the second half of the Czech Republic v England on the FA Player before it gets geoblocked. What did you miss from this round of international games?
Matildas double up in Adelaide
The Westfield Matildas went 2-0 in the ‘series’ against Chile with a narrow and yet comfortable 1-0 win in Adelaide. The City of Churches returned a crowd of just over 10,000 people, which given the normal attendances to Adelaide United games at Hindmarsh Stadium during the year, it is actually quite a significant amount of people.
The Matildas dominated play and chances, and yet were only able to convert in the first half, when Sam Kerr played Emily Gielnik, and the Bayern forward found the back of the net from a really tight angle. Sam Kerr was later brought down in the box, but the Chilean goalkeeper, substitute Natalie Campos, redeemed herself and managed to stop it. It wasn’t the best of shots, and it gave Chile a lifeline going into half time. However, the Chileans struggled to concern Lydia Williams, and the only chance they had, very late in the second half, found William’s chest before being deflected for a corner.
In the second half, the Matildas should have looted the game. Kerr hit the crossbar after a great run. Raso found the keeper in similar circumstances. And a barrage of chances in the box ensued, with at least another two plays (a handball and a challenge on Raso) that could have been judged a penalty. It wasn’t to be. Chile showed fight and bite, but also imprecision, and whilst the result seemed short by the end, the Matildas were well and truly in control for the whole game, unlike in Sydney.
Optus is in. So when is Kerr being announced?
The big news during the week was the announcement that Optus Sport has secured the exclusive rights to the live Women’s Super League games for the remained of the 2019-2020 season, and another two years. As a consequence, live broadcast on the FA Player will be geoblocked in Australia, but it is likely that the replays and highlights will still be accessible. This is the first deal of its kind in the Women’s Super League: the first time that they have managed to sell viewing rights outside of the UK. And it hints of an outcome and an announcement we have been waiting for for some time now: Sam Kerr will be going to the WSL.
With the Matildas commitments out of the way and just in time for the Women’s Football Weekend this weekend, we expect Kerr to show up on the other side of the world soon, and let us know of her plans. Will she be landing at Chelsea, as it has been rumoured for ages? Or will another team emerge as a suitor? It is unlike that, at this stage, she’d go to France: it would make little sense for Optus to invest in a foreign women’s league if they did not know that the main Aussie is going to play there. Otherwise they could have just stricken a deal with the D1 Arkema. One of us here seems to think that either of the Manchester teams are the dark horse in this operation given that United need a marquee striker, and City has the iconic 20 vacant. It is a far fetched conspiracy theory, given that United coach, Casey Stone, has already said they wouldn’t be able to afford her – but gee, wouldn’t we love a surprise in this space!
The English women’s transfer window does not open until the 27th December, which means that even if Kerr is announced soon, she won’t be able to compete until the new year. I reckon this means they might not make the announcement until after the Women’s Football Weekend, so that there is a focus on the massive event that it is for them to open Anfield and Tottenham Stadium to the Merseyside and London derbies, and then use the momentum from the weekend to, well, give us a clue about where the big fish will play.
Goals, goals, goals
The results from this international break are not surprising by any means. But whilst competition was a bit tighter in October, the second round of match ups in November have given us a goal fest that we were perhaps not expecting, at least not with this might. 67 goals were scored in 14 games at a rate of 4.78 per game, with two massive bags in the Austria 9-0 Kazhakstan and in the Denmark 14-0 Georgia.
Highlights of these games are scarce and hard to get access to, but in cases like this, we always resort to our friends at the Oranje Leeuwinnen social media team, who are by far the most organised and engaging national team platform out there. Here are all their goals from their game against Turkey.
And then their highlights from last night against Slovenia. Vivianne Miedema, those goals were RIDIC.