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Matildas def Ireland, player ratings, score, analysis, Katrina Gorry, Mackenzie Arnold, Mary Fowler, Caitlin Foord, stats, latest, updates

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It wasn’t a performance to write home about, but the Matildas have kicked off their Women’s World Cup campaign with a gritty 1-0 victory over Ireland.

Captain Steph Catley’s strike from the penalty spot was all that separated the two sides in a feisty contest played out in front of a record crowd of 75,784 at Stadium Australia.

There were a number of standouts across the Matildas team, with one player in particular coming to life in the second half to help secure the clean sheet.

But the attacking stars battled to perform in the absence of talismanic striker Sam Kerr, albeit the players only found out about her injury only hours before the contest.

Foxsports.com.au takes a look at how every Matilda performed in PLAYER RATINGS!

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The Matildas’ Women’s World Cup campaign is off to the perfect start. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
The Matildas’ Women’s World Cup campaign is off to the perfect start. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

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Mackenzie Arnold – 8.5

Arnold was rarely called into action in the first half, needing to make just one save in which she parried a cross to safety.

But she was critical to preserving the Matildas’ clean sheet, plucking countless crosses out of the air and clearing balls to safety.

Arnold also showed plenty of tactical nous in the dying stages to take the sting out of the game by racking up precious seconds.

The Irish would have hated it, but we loved every bit of it.

Steph Catley – 7

Handed the captain’s armband in the absence of Kerr and stepped up to the plate in a big way.

She wasn’t quite as industrious when it came to getting forward like Carpenter, but Catley did her defensive duties perfectly.

Catley also stepped up to the spot and coolly converted the penalty that ultimately won the game for the Matildas.

Clare Hunt – 7.5

Hunt oozed class with the ball at her feet and pinged it around the field with ease.

The Western Sydney Wanderers standout also was unafraid to do her defensive duties when the need arose, snuffing out opposition attacks constantly.

She did have a clumsy moment towards the end when she needlessly gave a foul away in the dying stages, but was otherwise a very accomplished performance from someone with very few Matildas caps to her name.

Hunt was a standout at the back for the Matildas. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Alanna Kennedy – 8

In a game that became increasingly feisty, Kennedy relished the challenge.

The towering centre-back won countless headers and made a crucial interception midway through the first half to prevent an Irish attack.

Kennedy led the team in passing with 84 completed, highlighting just how important she is to helping the build-up in moving the ball forward.

Ellie Carpenter – 6

As expected, Carpenter provided plenty of energy on the right and looked to link up with Raso in dangerous areas. However, she was somewhat guilty of overplaying the ball when a safe option was on, carelessly coughing up possession when there was little pressure on her.

When Carpenter needed to defend in the dying stages, she stepped up in a big way but she’s certainly had better games in the green and gold.

Cortnee Vine – 5

Provided an outlet for diagonal balls and got on the end of several, but unfortunately couldn’t do much when she had the ball at her feet.

Got into a bit of a tangle with Foord and Fowler in the box towards the end of the first half.

Vine found herself on the right flank more in the second half but the tactical tweak didn’t quite help her make a larger impact on the game.

Was the first player substituted off in the 75th minute.

Kyra Cooney-Cross – 6.5

The silky midfielder struggled to get her foot on the ball and ping it around the park, but she came up with crucial interceptions. Although she had a quiet first half, Cooney-Cross came to life in the second.

She found herself with more time on the ball and looked to spray it around the park, with her diagonal ball into the box ultimately leading to the penalty.

It wasn’t her finest performance, but she did a lot of unseen work that needed to be done.

Kyra Cooney-Cross came to life in the second half. (Photo by Izhar KHAN / AFP)Source: AFP

Katrina Gorry – 9

The diminutive midfielder might be nicknamed Mini, but it was a mighty performance from the classy midfielder who seemed to be everywhere for the Australians.

Gorry tackled hard and racked up interceptions, and her desperate sprint back towards Australia’s goal to snuff out a one-on-one chance was a highlight of the first half.

Calm and composed on the ball, her technical excellence in tight spaces was on full display, though her long-range through balls failed to pay off.

Gorry also led the team in tackles with six, proving she was more than happy to get her hands dirty.

Hayley Raso – 7.5

The new Real Madrid midfielder will need some bandaids after Wednesday night, after being caught in an intensely physical battle with Ireland captain and standout played Katie McCabe.

Both players needed medical attention in the first half as their ongoing duel down Australia’s right flank provided plenty of entertainment – and bruises.

Raso was largely kept quiet by the Arsenal superstar in the first period, but won a team-leading four fouls for her efforts, one of which resulted in the winning penalty.

Despite constantly being knocked to the ground by her Irish rivals, Raso never stopped running and provided a crucial outlet time and time again.

Caitlin Foord – 6

Foord huffed and puffed but unfortunately didn’t get too close to blowing the Irish house down.

It was evident Foord didn’t seem too familiar playing alongside Fowler up top given she’d played so long next to Kerr.

However, it never stopped Foord from constantly charging across the front line and being a menace.

She was most dangerous when she drifted into wide positions and had Irish defenders backing up in fear of Foord cutting inside and onto her right foot, but those opportunities were sadly far and few between.

Foord never quite got the clear-cut chances she craves. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Mary Fowler – 6

Thrust into a starting role as a result of Kerr’s shock absence.

Fowler showed plenty of skill with the ball at her feet, but she never quite got going and was often seen dropping extremely deep just to pick up the ball.

The youngster was eventually subbed off in the 85th minute after a display she’ll no doubt be frustrated with.

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Emily van Egmond – 5

Entered the contest in the 75th minute for Cortnee Vine.

The veteran midfielder was thrust into the contest to inject some much-needed calmness into the side as Ireland slowly grew into the game.

She made just 11 passes in the time she was on the park and never got to show much of her creative skills.

Clare Polkinghorne – 6

Came on in the 85th minute in place of Mary Fowler.

When the Matildas needed to shut up shop and repel wave after wave of Ireland’s green shirts, Polkinghorne was the perfect option to throw into the backline.

She didn’t have much to do on the ball, making just two passes, but her calming presence no doubt eased the Matildas’ nerves in the dying stages of the contest.

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