Hoo boy. This, uh… It’s not the best look, to be sure.
The Matildas, Australia’s highly regarded national women’s football team, are currently preparing to take on the Rio Olympics when the games in Brazil kicks off in August.
The side, currently ranked fifth in the world according to FIFA, is a serious chance to snag an appearance on the podium during the Olympic Tournament, and is arguably our strongest female side ever assembled.
But their prep for the games hit something of a bump in the road last night, when they took on a Newcastle Jets combined Under 15 and Under 16 boys side, and the latter were the ones who walked out with the chocolates.
Quite handily, too.
Seven goals to nil.
Now, whilst that is unequivocally not the best look for our all-conquering women, it’s not the end of the world that it might appear to be on paper.
For starters, the match served more as a training drill for the side as it strives to attain some semblance of cohesion in an Olympic training campaign that’s really only just getting started.
In fact, such was the level of the foot-off-the-gas attitude the Matildas took into the training game, that captain Lisa De Vanna took the the field wearing a jumper.
For those curious, last night was a very obvious training run. So much so that LDV was playing in a jumper. pic.twitter.com/1B55f33WWI
— Ann Odong (@AnnOdong) May 26, 2016
The side rotated heavily as it tested and cycled through a number of potential structural combinations and setups, and the side was missing a significant chunk of its first-choice star players, such as gun striker Kyah Simon.
It’s not uncommon for the Matildas team to take on rep sides of young men, largely due to the complete lack of quality female opposition in this part of the world.
National coach Alex Stajcic tersely dismissed comparisons between the women’s and men’s games when fronting media post-match.
“I don’t know why we’re comparing women with men,” Stajcic said. “It has no productive value at all. It’s testosterone. We’re talking about elite here. For an elite boy, with that muscular sort of mass and speed and power, and height on top of that.”
“Why anyone would want to pick a negative out of it and go to this stupid gender debate. It’s a ridiculous thing to have a gender debate about. There’s gender debates that should go on, but not about physical dominance.”
Meanwhile assistant coach Gary van Egmond, who also serves as the head of the Jets’ academy, stated that the result was surprising, but the side is still extremely underdone at this stage of their Rio prep.
“I think there were a couple of contributing factors to the loss. At this stage in their preparation, obviously the Matildas are not in a position to play regular games so I’d suggest all and sundry were a little bit rusty.”
“We could have had an easier game, but we definitely want to keep testing the girls.”
The reaction to the loss has, predictably, featured some pretty goddamned shocking bullshit from inherently sexist fans showing their true colours. But ultimately, a haphazard training run is really nothing to worry about.
The nail was more succinctly hit on the head on Twitter thusly:
it is probably not good that the Matildas were beaten 7-0 last night by Newcastle Jets’ under-15s
— Vince Rugari (@VinceRugari) May 25, 2016
the problem with the Matildas losing 7-0 to 15yo boys is that it gives sexists a chance to whack women’s football and confirm their biases
— Vince Rugari (@VinceRugari) May 26, 2016
It’s not great; no one likes losing, much less losing 7-0. But at the end of the day, it ain’t much to worry about.
The Matildas next matches are a pair of friendlies against New Zealand, scheduled to take place in Ballarat and Melbourne in early June.
Photo: Koki Nagahama/Getty.