MELBOURNE, Oct 12 (Reuters) – 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.”
Prior to the European tour, Australia, who will host the World Cup with New Zealand, had a spell of four matches without 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 the Matildas defence caught napping after the kick-off.
Foord’s 66th minute equaliser 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 defence 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.
Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.