A disappointing result has not stopped Tony Gustavsson from taking out both the positives and opportunities to learn following his team’s 3-2 loss to Denmark.
“You're always disappointed when you lose. And that disappointment is also tough when you feel that there's part of this performance that says we shouldn't have lost this game.” Gustavsson told media post-game.
The stats to half time proved Gustavsson’s point with Denmark having more goals than shots on target.
Australia finished the match with two goals but could have had more if not for Danish goalkeeper Lene Christensen, who Gustavsson lauded as having a phenomenal performance.
Despite the keeping heroics, offside goals, and defensive errors, he was buoyed by the Westfield Matildas bright start.
“I think the one thing that stands out for me is we had very short time to get this team to gel and get the cohesion and see the same picture. And then you add to that, as you saw, that I changed the system today.”
“To see the players the first 10 minutes apply that game plan as a collective, the belief but also the execution of it, it was very close to perfect first 10 minutes, except that we didn't put away those chances. That is one of the things that definitely stands out for me in a positive.”
On the other hand, he pinpointed the team’s performance at set pieces and reaction to the opening goal as an area that must and can be improved.
“A negative is I think our reaction when we conceded that one goal, I think Denmark got some belief and some momentum. And I think we got a little bit more hesitant in our press and the belief with the ball. And then finally, that cost us a second goal again, and it took some time to get back into it.”
Australia’s bright start was mirrored with a strong finish, when both goals were scored. The impact of the substitutes was keenly felt with Mary Fowler scoring the first and Emily Gilenik playing a role in the set ups off the bench.
Gustavsson lauded the substitutes, or as he has dubbed them, game changers.
“I know how this business works. And it's a lot of focus on starting XIs and such, but I know from experience that you need, especially in an Olympics, all players."
"Therefore if you might not start a game, it doesn't mean you're not important, you can be even more important finishing the game. So I definitely felt that I had game changers today, multiple of them.”
The focus now turns to Sweden and the match on Wednesday morning Australian time.