Matildas make mockery of Sam Kerr claim in epic statement ahead of Paris Olympics

The Matildas thrashed Uzbekistan 13-0 on aggregate to punch their ticket to the Olympic Games.

Sam Kerr, pictured here alongside Matildas players.
The Matildas thrashed Uzbekistan 10-0 on Wednesday and 13-0 on aggregate - even without star striker Sam Kerr. Image: Getty

The Matildas have once again dispelled the theory they can't score and can't win without Sam Kerr after thrashing Uzbekistan 10-0 on Wednesday night to secure their place at the Paris Olympics. Michelle Heyman scored four goals on Wednesday and five across the two legs - the perfect response to her recall to the national team to fill Kerr's giant boots.

Many have questioned whether the Matildas can make it very far at the Olympics without superstar striker Kerr, who suffered an ACL injury earlier this year and is next-to-no chance of playing in Paris. Some pundits even suggested they would struggle to beat Uzbekistan, and might not even qualify for the Games.

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But Heyman has shown there is hope after all, silencing critics who questioned her recall to the Matildas at the age of 35. The striker was superb in her first call-up to the national team since 2018, scoring four goals in Melbourne after also finding the back of the net in the first leg in Uzbekistan on Saturday - a 3-0 win.

The veteran is now vowing to produce the same displays against some bigger teams. "That's going to be the biggest challenge, to see where I'm at compared to the best," Heyman said after the 10-0 win on Wednesday night.

"Coming out there, I knew what Uzbekistan could bring and knew exactly what I had to do to be successful. I do believe in my ability and know how hard I've been pushing myself to get here and I won't be stopping. I'm going to continue to push even harder for Canberra United and just keep working on my fitness, speed and do everything I can do to be one of those 16 outfield players who go to Paris."

Michelle Heyman, pictured here after scoring her second goal against Uzbekistan.
Michelle Heyman celebrates after scoring her second goal against Uzbekistan. (Getty Images)

Heyman has made her doubters eat their words, and has emphatically answered questions about what the Matildas can do without Kerr. "We're very similar in certain ways, but I play my own game as well and I think I can bring some things that are quite different to what Sam brings as well," she said.

"It's been a very emotional roller coaster. I've been pushing so hard to try and get back into this squad. And as soon as I got the email to say that 'you're back in', I'm not letting it go.

"A lot of people told me that I couldn't do it and 'you're too old.' So it's really nice to be able to show people that it doesn't matter how old you are. You can just get out there if you love the game and you push yourself you can achieve anything."

Matildas players, pictured here after securing their spot at the Paris Olympics.
Matildas players celebrate after securing their spot at the Paris Olympics. (Getty Images)

Matildas fans in frenzy over stunning display against Uzbekistan

Caitlin Foord, Kaitlyn Torpey, Mary Fowler, Hayley Raso and Amy Sayer also got on the scoresheet on Wednesday night to show the Matildas have plenty of attacking options. Coach Tony Gustavsson had questioned his own players and whether they could score enough goals without Kerr after they went down 5-0 and 1-0 to Canada in friendly matches late last year.

On Wednesday night he pointed to Heyman's connection and "chemistry" with close friend Katrina Gorry as something in her favour. But he noted he needed to see her step up in more games against quality opposition - starting with the friendly against Mexico in Texas on April 10.

Matildas players, pictured here with Anna Meares and their ticket to Paris.
Matildas players pose with Australian Olympic Team Chef de Mission Anna Meares (L) and their ticket to Paris. (Getty Images)

"If you look at Heyman's finishing here, that is not just because the opposition is what it is. That's because she is such a good finisher - that technique to finish," Gustavsson said. "Can she bring the pressing intensity and the game on the field when you have less time and space? That's the question mark for her.

"And that's why I'm so happy with the Mexico game and also hopefully some really quality games in June to prep. Those camps are going to be used as development camps and go back to that process again and get one day better."

with AAP

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