Australian rules football legends slam Tony Gustavsson and identify the player he completely lost in the Nigeria defeat – after the coach made a shocking claim about the defeat
- Matildas knocked out by Nigeria 3-2, facing the exit of the World Cup
- Coach Tony Gustavsson set on fire for misuse of substitutions
- Striker Alex Chidiac only entered the fray in Brisbane in the 85th minute
- Australia must beat Canada on Monday to remain in the tournament
A host of Australian rules football identities have questioned Matildas manager Tony Gustavsson’s tactics following the shock World Cup defeat to Nigeria.
The likes of Socceroos great Mark Schwarzer and Matildas decorated utility Elise Kellond-Knight stunned. Alex Chidiac wasn’t introduced until the 85th minute – and Gustavsson’s bizarre post-match comments didn’t do him a favor either.
That leaves the Matildas plenty of work to do – and Monday’s loss to Olympic champions Canada will see the tournament co-hosts find themselves in the group stage.
Schwarzer was convinced Gustavsson needed to introduce new faces to the bench much sooner.
“I think when Tony looks back on the substitutions he made and the type of substitutions he made, he will look back with a bit of regret,” the former Fulham keeper said.
A host of Australian rules football identities – including Mark Schwarzer – have questioned Matildas manager Tony Gustavsson’s tactics following the World Cup loss to Nigeria.
The under-pressure Swede didn’t use his full-time substitutions effectively and he said he was happy with Australia’s performance.
“Bringing Clare Polkinghorne and moving Alanna Kennedy up front was way too early. He wasn’t effective until late in the game.
‘I think when [Alex] Chidiac arrived, she made a big difference. She probably should have scored, but I think if she had been on the pitch earlier the result could have been different.
Australia’s greatest stopper of all time also said: “Nigeria were quick, they were very energetic. They also had [Barcelona star] Asisat Oshoale who made a huge impact off the bench.
“There are 20 minutes left and they made four substitutions and we hadn’t made one. What were our players thinking?
Kellond-Knight, who has represented the Matildas at three World Cups, politely called Gustavsson’s tactics “curious”.
She also felt that the right side combination of Hayley Raso and Ellie Carpenter didn’t gel given their similar styles of play.
Alex Chidiac arrived late for Australia – and almost had an immediate impact, firing a shot over the crossbar
Elise Kellond-Knight, who represented the Matildas at three World Cups, spoke on behalf of many frustrated fans when she called Gustavsson’s tactics “curious”.
Former Matildas star Amy Chapman also said in a comment that Gustavsson got it wrong.
“Chidiac really made the difference, but we really needed it 15 minutes earlier,” she said on Optus Sport.
‘He needed to go. There is a 3-1 gap. It’s too late. They become frustrated. Nigeria is falling further and further back. It was too late.’
And although shaken by the 3-2 loss, Gustavsson raised many eyebrows after saying that while the result wasn’t great, he thought the team’s performance was.
The Swede highlighted Australia’s dominating attacking stats, including winning the possession battle, and having more entries in the third final and more than double Nigeria’s penalty shootout for justify his point of view.
“Actually, I’m not that disappointed with the performance, but I’m disappointed with the result,” he said in his post-match press conference.
“They came out and played well. They are brave and they gave their all, until the end, and almost got the tie today.
Australia take on Canada in a must-see Group B clash in Melbourne from 8pm on July 31.