Written by the Football Federation Australia
The Matildas have suffered their heaviest defeat in over a decade, after going down to China 5-0 in a friendly international in Tianjin overnight.
Australia eclipsed the Chinese in a lengthy training game last Sunday and the match was expected to be another close contest, but the experienced and battle-hardened Chinese team was in no mood to be generous to Tom Sermanni’s vastly inexperienced side this time round.
China led 2-0 at the break and went on with it in the second half, as they pounced on some fairly basic errors by Australia, which Sermanni was particularly upset with after the match.
"I was extremely disappointed with some of the errors we made,” he said after the game. "The result highlighted the fact we're just not a cohesive unit at this point in time and the different stages of preparation for both teams."
Australia though enjoyed a bright start, but against the run of play China took the lead after 7 minutes. Pouncing on a loose turnover in the middle of the park, the ball was quickly chipped over the defence and lethal Chinese striker Han Duan raced away and finished low past Melissa Barbieri from outside of the box.
China then doubled their advantage in the 22nd minute, when Duan crossed from the right and Zhang Ying finished with a terrific volley from just inside the penalty box.
That goal seemed to sap any confidence from the young Australian side, as the Chinese continued to dominate proceedings for the remainder of the half.
It got no better for the Matildas at the start of the second half, when a Chinese defender was pushed in the back and their captain Li Jie made no mistake from the penalty spot.
This seemed to spark Australia into action and for the next 20-25 minutes as they enjoyed the better of play.
Kyah Simon became particularly prominent with several attempts just wide of the mark, while Kate McShea forced a good save from the Chinese keeper to keep out her shot from the edge of the box after 66 minutes.
A minute later, Simon went the closest to a goal when her angled shot hit the post, while further shots from Servet Uzunlar and Caitlin Munoz were saved by the keeper.
Then against the run of play in the 74th minute, a mistimed clearance from the defence was pounced upon by Xu Yuan who raced away and finished her angled shot from right edge box.
China rounded out the comprehensive win late in the match, with Yuan pouncing on another poor clearance to slam home a shot from the edge of the box.
"Our inexperience was also highlighted by the inconsistency in our performances, we had a good game the other night but could not back it up tonight," added Sermanni.
The squad returns home today and will back up to play against New Zealand on Saturday (12 noon) at North Sydney Oval, although Sermanni is likely to have a host of his more senior players for the match, which will mark the end of Di Alagich’s 12-year international career with the team