Kane Cornes cops backlash over 'soft' claim about Matildas' World Cup loss

Kane Cornes' hot take about the Matildas has seen the former AFL star cop it from football fans in a big way.

Kane Cornes and Matildas player Ellie Carpenter.

Kane Cornes' suggestion that commentary surrounding the Matildas' loss to England in the Women's World Cup semi-final was 'soft' has seen the former AFL star told to 'stay in your lane'. Matildas players have already acknowledged the defensive lapses that allowed England's two second half goals, however Cornes claimed the analysis and criticism of them didn't go hard enough.

Ellie Carpenter has copped a barrage of abuse on social media in the aftermath of the loss, while the Matildas were already dealt a blow before kick-off with veteran Alanna Kennedy ruled out on late notice with what was later revealed to be a delayed concussion. Head coach Tony Gustavsson praised veteran Claire Polkinghorne, who started in Kennedy's place, but said it was ultimately a problem that proved too difficult to solve on the fly.

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Despite conceding on SEN Sportsday that he was far from an expert in football, Cornes argued the Matildas had been let off lightly in the days following the 3-1 defeat. His take drew particular ire from many football fans for his suggestion a men's team would have faced more scrutiny.

Many replied to his comments by pointing out the Socceroos had never come anywhere near the World Cup heights the Matildas have achieved. Many more however, took umbrage by suggesting heavy scrutiny was simply not called for.

“How critical can we be of the Aussies and their defending? We’ve been a bit soft," Cornes said. "If this was the men’s side we’d be going extremely hard on the two errors we made … and the ease in which we conceded those two goals.

“We’ve rightly given the Matildas all the credit they deserve … but that was horrific. That was horrific from what I saw. Soccer experts out there, tell me I’m wrong …We’ve been a little bit easy on the mistakes we’ve made and somewhat let the players off the hook.”

Cornes added that he believed England had been able to rattle the Matildas early, getting under their skin with some physical play early on. He also took aim at both Carpenter and goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold.

Veteran midfielder Katrina Gorry summed up the mood in the Aussie camp, saying: "Everyone's gonna be hurting. I think the veterans probably more - we don't really have another World Cup in us.

"So it's a tough one to swallow at the moment. But, we'll all get around each other, we'll make sure that we're ready to go for the next game. Because we want that bronze medal. It's dangling right in front of us, Australia has got us here so far, we're not gonna let them down."

Matildas hurt by inopportune injuries to key stars

Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson lamented the absence of veteran defender Kennedy, saying the team had confronted a number of unforeseen challenges throughout their World Cup run. Gustavsson said the relatively limited amount of time the Matildas had to prepare for Kennedy's absence had burned them, with defensive lapses costing them dearly against the Lionesses.

"It seems to be one of those tournaments where curve ball after curve ball has been thrown at us, and I think the team has been tremendous at being able to adapt at whatever has been thrown at us," he said.

Sam Kerr reacts after the loss to England.

"At lunch time today we got the notice from the medical team that Alanna was ruled out, we had to make a last minute change. We've done a lot of those this tournament and been really, really good at dealing with it.

"Clare Polkinghorne is very experienced, mentally has no problem stepping in to play the game, but the challenge for her was she hasn't played a game for a very, very long time (and is) coming back from injury - so it hurt (having) the limited game time and limited training time coming into this tournament," he said.

"And also Sam (Kerr) the limited training time, you could see both were two players that really, really needed to dig deep in the second half. The ones that had a lot of minutes in them were brilliant in the second half, not that Polks and Sam weren't brilliant."

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