Matildas hit their stride to thump Sweden

The Matildas have thumped world No.2 Sweden 4-0 to deliver one of the finest victories of the Tony Gustavsson era but the head coach is not getting ahead of himself.

Arsenal star Caitlin Foord was electric, scoring two brilliant goals, and now has five in her past three internationals.

Sam Kerr scored the opener and Mary Fowler also netted in front of 22,065 fans at Melbourne's AAMI Park.

Australia's third consecutive win is among the most impressive performances of what has been a rollercoaster ride under Gustavsson, alongside the dramatic Olympics quarter-final win over Great Britain.

The Matildas landed their first clean sheet against a top-10 nation since the 0-0 draw with the USA in the Olympics group stage.

Sweden are the highest-ranked team Australia have beaten since prevailing over world No.1 USA in 2017, while the 4-0 margin was the Matildas' biggest ever against a top-five team.

The result was in stark contrast to disappointing losses against Canada in September and the USA last November.

Saturday's effort marked Gustavsson's first win with Australia against his native Sweden in four attempts, after losing 1-0 in the Tokyo Olympics semi-final and 4-2 in the tournament's group stage, plus drawing 0-0 in a June 2021 friendly.

But the head coach refused to get overexcited.

"We struggled for 30 minutes in the first half and were lucky not to be down 1-0," Gustavsson said.

"We started off very good, the first five minutes.

"But after that, we got way too stretched and passive in our defending.

"They played through us, they played around us, and we could have been 1-0 down. We did a tactical adjustment (at the 30-minute mark) that worked out well. So we finished off really well.

"The second half was one of the better halves that we have played against top opposition."

Australia broke through in the 37th minute, when Foord shrugged off a defender outside the 18-yard box and found Hayley Raso on the left.

Raso's low, left-footed cross was met brilliantly by a sliding Kerr, for a goal Gustavsson said changed the game.

"Am I happy with this performance? Yes," he said.

"But I'm not over the moon. I'm very humble about where we are and this was one game."

It was Kerr's first international goal since playing New Zealand in April and her first against a top-20 opponent since scoring against Brazil in October 2021.

Foord doubled Australia's lead on 51 minutes with a stunning curving strike to kick off a second-half rampage.

Fowler's deflected strike in the 73rd minute gave Australia an unassailable lead before Foord finished off a lovely team move five minutes later to complete the rout.

Midfielder Kyra Cooney-Cross was superb alongside Katrina Gorry, with Gustavsson's 4-4-2 formation proving a winner, while centre-back Steph Catley also excelled.

"We do feel good and we're playing the style of play that we want to play," Foord told reporters.

"We want to be aggressive, and we want to take it to teams no matter who they are. That's what we did today and the results showed."

Midfielder Alex Chidiac missed out with a knock but should be fit to play a role against Thailand in Gosford on Tuesday.