Gustavsson hails ‘world class’ Gorry after last-gasp Matildas win

Australia coach Tony Gustavsson praised Katrina Gorry’s “world class” performance as the midfielder made her first appearance since becoming a mother to help her team to a dramatic win over fellow Women’s World Cup hosts New Zealand on Friday.

Injury time goals from Emily van Egmond and Sam Kerr earned the Matildas a 2-1 victory after Anna Green’s speculative opener for the Football Ferns in the 32nd minute.

But it was the performance of Gorry, who gave birth eight months ago, that was at the heart of a dominant display for the Australians against their 2023 World Cup co-hosts in Townsville.

“Her quarter-back ability as a 6, her positioning, is phenomenal. Her passing skill is phenomenal,” Gustavsson said of the 29-year-old.

“But the one thing I thought was the standout with her was her defensive actions in there, the amount of duels she wins, even aerial duels.

“I’m not surprised how good she was attacking, but the defensive performance from her was also world class in my opinion.”

The game was Australia’s first since their surprise exit from the Women’s Asian Cup at the quarter-final stage in January at the hands of South Korea and Green’s strike for the New Zealanders from wide on the left came against the run of play.

Van Egmond finally levelled the scores in the fourth minute of added time as the Australians found a way through, before Kerr’s header at a corner two minutes later completed the turnaround in dramatic fashion.

“It just shows the belief we have in this team,” van Egmond said.

“Football’s a funny game, you can have 90per cent of the ball and maybe you don’t put it into the back of the net. But if you stay loyal to the game plan like Tony said, and the principles we’ve got in place, eventually it’ll come together.”

(Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong; Editing by William Mallard)

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