Australia ended England’s 30 match unbeaten run with a 2-0 victory in a friendly on Wednesday morning (AEST), 100 days from the start of the Women’s World Cup.
Sam Kerr scored in the first half after a defensive error and Charlotte Grant doubled the advantage in the 67th minute to hand Sarina Wiegman her first loss as England’s coach.
England’s unbeaten run of 26 wins and four draws had included winning the European Championship last summer.
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Kerr, the Australian captain who plays for Chelsea, pounced on a weak back pass by defender Leah Williamson and one-on-one with Mary Earps deftly flicked the ball past the goalkeeper’s left shoulder and into the net in the 32nd minute at a rainy Gtech Community Stadium in west London.
Williamson was trying to deal with a long ball and after a bounce tried to head it back to Earps, but the England captain left it short and Australia’s all-time leading scorer took advantage for the Matildas.
Grant got on the end of Kerr’s cross and beat Earps with a header that deflected into the net.
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It was the first match between the teams since a 1-1 draw in a friendly in London in October 2018.
“Proud,” Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson said.
“Proud of this team, and all the challenges thrown at us before the game, all the players unavailable, to play the best team in the world, 30 games unbeaten, and to put up that performance, the work rate and how much they showed that they love playing for their country.
Grant buzzing after first Matildas goal
“That was amazing. If you look at the lack of players we had, and we might not be the best team, but we can beat the best team on any given day with the heart and soul of this team.”
Australia and New Zealand are co-hosting the World Cup this summer.
England had beaten Brazil in a 4-2 penalty shootout victory last Thursday in front of 83,132 fans at Wembley Stadium.
“I thought we deserved the win because we defended really well and on the counterattack were very good,” Kerr said.
“But it was just a patient performance and it took everyone to do their part. When you play like that it is worth it…
“It was a good performance from us, everyone played really well, out of their skin, and it takes a lot to come over here and beat England at home, of course.”
Gustavsson did have some concerns over knee injuries to Kerr and Tameka Yallop.
Kerr shrugged off her issue as minor but Yallop’s appeared serious.
“We have enough in terms of injuries, and I hope that there is time enough for the players to come back,” Gustavsson said.
“If this win came with too big of a price, then it will hurt me and the team. I hope it is not that severe.”
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