Former Matildas player Amy Chapman has taken the Aussie defence to task after a 'diabolical' mistake that allowed England to re-take the lead in their World Cup semi-final. Sam Kerr sent Australia into meltdown with an incredible long-range wonder-goal in the 63rd minute to level the score at 1-1 after Ella Toone had given England the lead early.
However it all went wrong for the Matildas just eight minutes later when Lauren Hemp was able to sneak under the guard of Ellie Carpenter to score a gift goal. Carpenter had the perfect body position over Hemp as the ball was sent forward into the box, but failed to defuse the situation properly and was muscled out of the way.
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Hemp was left with a clear shot on goal, sending the ball past Mackenzie Arnold for a 2-1 England lead. The horror defensive lapse took away all of the momentum Australia had built up after Kerr's goal and proved incredibly deflating.
It's a mistake at the back from Australia and England hit the lead! 🦁
Ellie Carpenter can't clear. Lauren Hemp makes them play.
Watch 📲 https://t.co/ld3UegzwLk #FIFAWWC #OptusSport pic.twitter.com/nfVwdQBAXw
— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) August 16, 2023
In commentary for Optus Sport, Chapman said: "It’s some awful defending from the Australians. Ellie Carpenter, not dealing with the initial ball in behind.
"It really shouldn’t have been anything at all. But Lauren Hemp, she’s hustled all evening, she’s been England’s best all evening and she puts that one away no troubles.
“There’s no mistaking after that Sam Kerr equaliser, seven minutes and 53 seconds it took for Lauren Hemp to put England ahead again. I’m a big fan of Ellie but that’s a colossal mistake. A game-changing mistake from her not to deal with that and Hemp was there to pounce.”
The defending wasn't much better for England's third goal, with Carpenter forced to move into an unfamiliar role of central defender after Emily van Egmond was brought on in the midfield for Clare Polkinghorne. Once again it was Hemp taking advantage of the Matildas' frailties at the back, providing a lovely ball for Alessia Russo to make it 3-1.
Carpenter looked absolutely shattered after the game and could be seen in tears, along with a number of other Matildas players. "Obviously mistakes happen and that's football. It happens," Carpenter said.
Matildas coach Tony Gustvsson said: "It was one of those nights - I've said it before - tournament football is won and lost inside the 18 (yard box) and England was clinical tonight. We had a chance for 2-2 and a couple of minutes later it was 3-1. It was one of those games, unfortunately."
Matildas turn focus to third-place playoff after semi-final loss
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."
When asked whether the Matildas would be better for the experience and stronger for it, Polkinghorne shrugged and said: "I think we will. But I don't know - being at home, a lot of people were getting behind us and supporting us and it was just incredible the amount of support we got." So we'll learn from it and be better."
Fans and pundits on social media were quick to take aim at the Matildas' defence, while many more praised the Aussies for their historic run to the semi-finals. It marked the first time an Aussie football team (men's or women's) have made the final four at a World Cup.
— Emmanuel. (@TheLord_Jeybro) August 16, 2023
Great effort to reach semis. But Matildas outplayed tonight. Some horrible defensive errors, and scoring opportunities missed #FIFAWWC
— Smokie Dawson (@smokiedawson) August 16, 2023
Don’t let that Sam Kerr wonder goal deceive you #Matildas fans. #Australia were awful tonight against #England. Tactically inept, passive in defence and embarrassingly predictable in attack #AUSENG #FIFAWWC
We deserved to lose!!
— Caleb Bowey (@CriticKebab) August 16, 2023
Everyone will pinpoint Kerr’s miss just before Eng 3rd goal, but the turning point was the awful defending for Hemp strike.
Can’t afford that in a WC semi.
Real shame, especially for Kerr, who got Aus back into game, with the goal of tournament.#AUSENG #FIFAWWC
— Michael Burgess (@mikeburgess99) August 16, 2023
Had 3 to 4 opportunities missed and then poor defending! Can't do that agianst a high quality team!! #FIFAWWC
— B-G-C 🇦🇺🇨🇵☝️ (@Flafegc361) August 16, 2023
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