Soccer Football - Women's International Friendly - Denmark v Australia - Energi Viborg Arena, Viborg, Denmark - October 11, 2022, Australia's Caitlin Foord celebrates scoring a goal with teammates Johnny Pedersen

Australian women’s football ends European drought with World Cup boost

Women’s World Cup co-hosts Australia secured their first away win over European opposition since 2013 with a 3-1 victory over Denmark to recover some badly needed confidence in the lead-up to next year’s global showpiece. The Danes went ahead in the first minute of the friendly in Viborg on Tuesday but the Matildas hit back with a Caitlin Foord brace and a wonder strike from Katrina Gorry in a nine-minute burst in the second half. The win followed Australia’s 4-1 victory over South Africa in London over the weekend, easing the pressure on embattled coach Tony Gustavsson.
“Internally we really believed in it and I hope now externally, after two good wins, people will see we are on the right trajectory going into World Cup 2023,” assistant coach Mel Andreatta told Australian media. “There’s been a lot of work on depth and we’re starting to see the fruits of it.”

Before the European tour, Australia, who will host the World Cup with New Zealand, had a spell of four matches without a victory, including a 7-0 thumping away to Spain. They got off to the worst possible start on Tuesday when Denmark’s Karen Holmgaard latched onto a cross in the penalty area and thumped home with Matilda’s defense caught napping after the kick-off. Foord’s 66th-minute equalizer had a touch of fortune about it, with a fairly innocuous left-foot shot taking a heavy deflection off a defender. However, Gorry’s long-range thunderbolt eight minutes later was pure quality.
With the Danish defense in disarray, Foord finished superbly a minute later with her third goal in two matches. Gustavsson restored talismanic striker Sam Kerr to the starting side in a rejigged 4-4-2 formation after the Matildas beat South Africa with three up front. Australia will hope to extend their winning run in home friendlies against Sweden and Thailand next month.

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