Acting captain Steph Catley says the Matildas’ comprehensive win over Canada has revealed a new maturity in the team that could take them deep into the World Cup draw.

Under heavy scrutiny and needing a win to avoid crashing out at the group stage, Australia ran all over the Olympic gold medallists and left AAMI Park 4-0 victors.

Steph Catley celebrates scoring her penalty.

Steph Catley celebrates scoring her penalty.Credit: Reuters

Catley, who once again led the side in the absence of injured Sam Kerr, scored a penalty in injury-time to cap the result that sealed Australia’s spot at the top of Group B.

By that point Tony Gustvasson’s team had already scored three, in a historic turnaround from the shock loss to Nigeria four days prior Catley said had prompted “a lot of talk” about what needed to improve.

“We know what we’re capable of and we know that that game wasn’t good enough,” she said. “We knew that it would take tonight to capitalise on our chances and defend well and be together and, and do the simple things well, which we didn’t do well against Nigeria.

“I can’t even tell you what the buzz was like before the game. There was a fire in everyone’s eyes and I just knew everyone was out there to do everything they could to win at all costs.”

Canada coach Bev Priestman, who was humble in defeat, said she believed the Matildas “should be probably in the top four of a World Cup” based on Monday night’s performance. It was a performance Catley described as “mature”.

“They [Canada] had a lot of the ball,” she said. “They’re an incredible team. They defend well, they keep the ball, they create chances.


“So the way we defended together and the way that we countered that was mature. At times, in the past, we’ve let moments like that get the better of us. I think it shows we’ve come a long way, and we’re ready for a tournament like this.”

Who lies in wait in the round of 16 next Monday in Sydney depends on the final fixtures from Group D, to be played on Tuesday night, with Australia to meet the runners-up from that group.

Based on current standings, either Denmark or China appear the most likely to finish second behind England, meaning the Matildas may well avoid the latter.

Fellow full-back Ellie Carpenter did not care who it would be, reasoning that they had already topped this tournament’s group of death.

“I think this is probably the hardest group of the World Cup,” Carpenter said. “You look at the teams and everyone is really strong and physical. Anyone could have topped it; anyone could have went home.

“So we’re obviously really proud that we topped the group. Um, I feel for Canada, obviously they’re amazing team, world-class opposition, so it was hard to see them go out.

Honestly, it’s probably our backs against the wall. But we need this every match now … we need to reproduce that performance because if we play like that, yeah, we can beat anyone.”

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