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Matildas humbled by ruthless Netherlands

Nijmegen: Australia’s women’s national team’s difficult return to international football continued on Tuesday as they fell to a 5-0 loss in their friendly against the Netherlands.

Eager to improve on Saturday’s 5-2 defeat in Germany, the Matildas suffered an even heavier loss as the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup runners-up ruthlessly punished a series of individual errors to put their visitors to the sword.

Five different players got on the scoresheet for the Netherlands, handing Australia their heaviest defeat in more than a decade and leaving them to look ahead to the June international window for some much-needed form ahead this summer’s Olympics.

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Fielding a star-studded starting line-up, the Netherlands were in front within five minutes, punishing a poor pass from Mary Fowler to eventually work the ball into the net via Jill Roord.

An Australian error was at the heart of the second Dutch goal too, with goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold failing to keep out a speculative Like Martens strike, before another possession error from the Matildas led to Jackie Groenen making it 3-0 in the 27th minute.

Appearing in an international for only the second match in over a year, Australia lacked cohesion and understanding in comparison to their well-oiled opponents, who scored the game’s best goal in the 67th minute, when Lineth Beerenstyen latched onto a long ball before beating Arnold with a superb lob.

Danielle van de Donk then rounded out the scoring three minutes later, capitalising when a rushed clearance from debutant Dylan Holmes rolled straight into her path.

With star striker Sam Kerr well held by the Dutch defence, Holmes would go on to have Australia’s best scoring chance of the match, but she missed the target from close range after Sari van Veenendal palmed Caitlin Foord’s initial effort into her path.

With two matches now under new head coach Tony Gustavsson under their belt, Australia will look ahead to the brighter days to come, starting with next Wednesday’s Olympic group stage draw.

Photo: AFP

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