A dominant performance from Australia has seen them finish 5th in the Cyprus Cup thanks to a 6-2 win over the Czech Republic in Paralimni, Cyprus.
Despite conceding the advantage early, goals from six different goalscorers in an strong attacking effort saw the Matildas top last year’s Cyprus Cup result.
“The variety we have in our attack is one of our biggest strengths,” said head coach Alen Stajcic.
“We don’t have to reply on just one or two players to score, we’ve got a range of options who all bring something different.”
In an action packed opening 20 minutes, it was the Czechs who took a surprise early lead with their first attack.
Failing to clear the danger area, the Matildas were punished when Pavla Benyrova wrong footed Mackenzie Arnold for the opening goal.
The goal was the wake up call Australia needed and minutes later they were level when Katrina Gorry met Michelle Heyman’s cut back from just yards out.
The lively Heyman was then again the action in the 13th minute when she skipped by her marker before being brought down in the area. Heyman took the resulting penalty Czech Republic keeper Hana Sloupova guessed right and palmed away the spot kick.
Three minutes later Australia had the well deserved lead thanks to a bursting run from Caitlin Foord. Foord dribbled inside, struck with Sloupova’s parry falling to Emily van Egmond who turned it home.
The all action Foord went close again to scoring as she latched onto a central ball from Kellond-Knight but again her shot was just wide.
Lisa De Vanna was next to get in on the act with a classy solo effort. The striker picked up the ball from 25 yards out, sprinted into the space before slotting home from 10 yards out.
Despite peppering the Czech goal for the rest of the half, the Matildas were unable to add to their 3-0 half time scoreline.
The second half was more of the same as Australia forced an corner in the 53rd minute. The initial corner came to Teresa Polias on the edge of the area.
Polias’ shot was pushed out by Sloupova only for Heyman to volley home from close range.
The Czech’s pulled a goal back just after the hour mark with Benyrova’s long range effort helped on by the gusting conditions to beat out Arnold.
The Matildas were undeterred and late on the Clare Polkinghorne and Ashleigh Sykes capped off the performance with late goals.
First with Polkinghorne’s header from a pin point Collette McCallum corner then with Sykes putting away the rebound ball after another storming De Vanna run and strike.
“Our execution in the front third was lacking but the girls tried hard in tough conditions.”
“It was the fourth game in eight days so it was a great effort to be able to finish off the tournament like we have.”
Australia now depart for the Australian Institute of Sport European Training Centre where they will be based for 3 weeks.
The conclusion of the European Tour will see the Matildas take on Scotland, Austria and Cameroon.
Australia 6 (Gorry 8’, van Egmond 16’, De Vanna 34’, Heyman 53’, Polkinghorne 85’, Sykes 86’)
Czech Republic 2 (Benyrova 5’/63’)
11 March 2015
Tasos Marko / Paralimni, Cyprus
Kick off: 14:00 local (11pm AEDT)
Australia line-up: Mackenzie Arnold (gk), Servet Uzunlar (Hayley Raso 55’), Alanna Kennedy (Clare Polkinghorne 63’), Steph Catley, Elise Kellond-Knight (Gema Simon 45’), Teresa Polias, Katrina Gorry (Collette McCallum 83’), Emily van-Egmond, Lisa De Vanna, Michelle Heyman(Kyah Simon 55’), Caitlin Foord (Ashleigh Sykes 72’)
Substitutes not used: Brianna Davey (gk), Laura Alleway, Kate Gill, Nicola Bolger, Larissa Crummer
Australia 1 (Crummer 73′)
4 March 2015, GSZ Larnaca
England 3 (Taylor 8’/ 17′ / 83′)
6 March 2015, GSP Nicosia
Laura ALLEWAY, Mackenzie ARNOLD (gk), Nicola BOLGER, Stephanie CATLEY, Larissa CRUMMER, Brianna DAVEY (gk), Lisa DE VANNA, Caitlin FOORD, Kate GILL, Katrina GORRY, Michelle HEYMAN, Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT, Alanna KENNEDY, Collette McCALLUM, Teresa POLIAS, Clare POLKINGHORNE, Hayley RASO, Gema SIMON, Kyah SIMON, Ashleigh SYKES, Servet UZUNLAR, Emily VAN EGMOND