A first international goal from Larissa Crummer has given the Westfield Matildas a toughly contested 1-0 victory over the Netherlands in their first match of the 2015 Cyprus Cup in the early hours of Thursday morning (AEDT).
After coming on as a second half substitute, the 19 year old Queenslander scored the game’s only goal in the 73rd minute as the Westfield Matildas edged out the team that currently sits one place below them in the world rankings and has made significant strides forward in the past 12 months.
“She has been doing really well in camps and probably the only thing missing so far has been that execution in the final third of the field so it’s great for her to come on and score her first international goal and for it to be the winner makes it all the more special,” Matildas head Coach Alen Stajcic said of Crummer after the match.
Stajcic was proud of the way his team went about it and the progress he has seen since the squad’s first camp in preparation for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015.
“It was a tough game. We played against a world class team today, they (the Netherlands) have improved a lot over the past 12 months,” Stajcic said.
“We had good patches during the game as did they, the difference was we took one of our six or seven chances and managed to keep them out.
“Generally it was a pretty pleasing performance but the biggest thing was winning against some world class opposition knowing there’s a lot of room for improvement.”
In her 50th international appearance, Elise Kellond-Knight led the Westfield Matildas out in Larnaca against a country they had met just four times previously, the most recent occasion being at last year’s Cyprus Cup in a game that ended 2-2.
The Netherlands could have argued to have had marginally the better of the relatively even opening 45 minutes, the Dutch’s best chance of the half coming in the 20th minute when Kirsten van de Ven skied her effort over the bar.
Seven minutes later at the other end the Matildas had claims for a penalty waved away by the referee after Emily van Egmond went down in the penalty area, neither team able to lead going into the break.
Stajcic made his first substitution just after the hour mark bringing Crummer on for Kyah Simon, and the deciding moment of the match came 10 minutes later as Lisa De Vanna slid a ball through to Crummer who snuck her shot in at the far post.
De Vanna then very nearly doubled the Matildas’ advantage shortly after only for her effort to go just wide of the target but Crummer’s strike was enough as the Westfield Matildas absorbed some late Netherlands pressure to be in front at the final whistle.
In the other Group B match, England defeated Finland 3-1. The Matildas’ second match of the tournament is against the FIFA sixth-ranked English at GSP Nicosia kicking off at 2.30am AEDT on Saturday.
Westfield Matildas 1 (Crummer 73’)
Westfield Matildas starting line-up: Brianna Davey (gk), Steph Catley, Lisa De Vanna (Kate Gill 88’), Katrina Gorry (Alanna Kennedy 69’), Michelle Heyman (Ashleigh Sykes 81’), Elise Kellond-Knight, Teresa Polias, Clare Polkinghorne, Kyah Simon (Larissa Crummer 63’), Servet Uzunlar, Emily van-Egmond. Substitutes not used: Laura Alleway, Mackenzie Arnold (gk), Nicola Bolger, Caitlin Foord, Collette McCallum, Hayley Raso, Gema Simon.