Matildas coach makes telling move for second Canada game after ugly backlash

The Matildas were humbled on the weekend and Tony Gustavsson is making adjustments.

Mary Fowler applauds and Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson looks on.

Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson is set to play his full strength line-up against Canada in the second friendly after the Aussies were embarrassed in a 5-0 thrashing. Gustavsson said he would use the first Canada game to give time to a number of players trying to break into the Matildas team with the likes of Sam Kerr and Mackenzie Arnold out injured.

However, fielding a team with six players who had less than 20 appearances, the Matildas were humbled 5-0 on Saturday and there was plenty of criticism heading the coach's way. Gustavsson came under fire when he avoided rotation within the squad during the home World Cup this year with the Matildas looking particularly fatigued towards the end of the tournament.

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Gustavvson made the call to rest a number of first team players from domestic and international duty on the weekend, as the Matildas approach their Olympic Games qualification tie. The experiment didn't work as well as Gustavsson would have hoped and the coach is set to revert back to a stronger line-up. Gustavsson is set to play Mary Fowler, Kyra Cooney-Cross, Alanna Kennedy and Hayley Raso on Wednesday (AEDT).

Kerr and Arnold are injured, but Caitlin Foord, Steph Catley, Ellie Carpenter and Clare Hunt could also appear in the picture to start against Canada after being rested. And Gustavsson slapped down criticism of the younger players after the poor result.

"They were extremely professional in this last game to go all in and try things," he said. "It was a credit to the experienced players and my support staff to create a safe space for these young players to be out there and play.

"Some people probably go, 'Hey, is this fair to the players to give them this type of experience?'. They love it. This is what they want. They want to play against top teams. They want to learn. As long as I make sure I create a safe space for them to get this experience, it's what they need. Then I wanted to balance that with the opportunity to have some continuity as well in a line-up.

"Because this might be the only camp before the Olympics when we can play a top-ranked nation. It's difficult scheduling now with all the teams being locked in to schedules all the way up. I wanted to really try young players against a top team but also get some continuity and consistency."

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Canada capitalised on a number of poor errors from the Matildas in the 5-0 thrashing with three goals coming from players losing the ball within their own half. Canada are currently World No.10 in the women's FIFA rankings, one place above the Matildas.

Emily Van Egmond passes the ball.

And Gustavsson will be looking to showcase Australia's dominance in the next game as they look to move into the top 10 world rankings. "We've struggled (in the past) a little bit to play through lines," he said. "Which means come Olympics, we don't want to be as predictable in our attack and I want to improve playing through.

"We might do some mistakes tomorrow as well, and maybe they'll cost us a goal or two, but we're in the process now where we really, really want to work on this to take the team to the next level."

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