Written by the Football Federation Australia
The Westfield Young Matildas (Australian Under 20 Women’s team) kicked off their three-week tour in Italy, with an emphatic 4-1 win against Finland in Varese.
In the first in a series of international games against European opposition, Australia got off to a flying start with two goals inside the first seven minutes from Marianna Tabain and Tameka Butt before Jessica Seaman and Nicola Bolger added goals late in the game.
Having got off the plane only on Wednesday, coach Alen Stajcic wasn’t expecting too much from the opening game against the Finn’s, but his players responded with the best possible start.
Tabain got things rolling in the 4th minute, when the Perth Glory striker was played down the left; she beat her marker and her shot from wide out, drifted inside the far post.
Three minutes later, Tabain set up the second goal when she made a good run down the left channel and crossed to Butt, who’s shot from outside the penalty area was too good for the Finnish keeper.
Both sides then started to struggle with the high temperature, but Kyah Simon almost made it 3-0 after 26 minutes, but her header from Elise Kellond-Knight’s free kick was just wide. Three minutes Simon then had a shot tipped over the bar as Australia continued to create good chances.
Butt was denied by the Finnish keeper from close range after a sweeping counter-attack by Australia, while right on half time, the Finnish keeper again thwarted an effort.
Finland had their first real attempt on goal five minutes after the break, which went wide, while both teams created half chances.
With the substitutions happening thick and fast, the game opened up a little in the last 20 minutes with play going from end to end and in the 78th minute, Karina Roweth played a neat through ball for Seaman and her solid finish made it 3-0.
Straight from the kick-off, Finland pulled a goal back when they worked the ball up field and Raihala hit a long range strike that went in off the inside right post.
However any thoughts of a Finland come back were distinguished two minutes later, when Samantha Kerr played the ball to Bolger who weaved past several defenders into the box and finished well.
Australia finished strongly and could have had several more goals, but the 4-1 victory was very satisfying for Stajcic.
"We played pretty well considering the long travel a few days ago and the hot conditions in the middle of the day," Stajcic said.
"We got off to a great start, which was especially pleasing and I thought we finished the game well despite the hot conditions.
"It's a good start but we still have areas to work on and improve as the tour progresses.
"Some of the younger players like Teigan Allen and Courtney Beutel did particularly well on debut," Stajcic concluded.