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Gustavsson credits home fans after Matildas notch up Brazil win

Gustavsson credits home fans after Matildas notch up Brazil win

FILE PHOTO: Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Soccer Football - Women - Bronze medal match - Australia v United States - Ibaraki Kashima Stadium, Ibaraki, Japan - August 5, 2021. Australia coach Tony Gustavsson reacts REUTERS/Henry Romero

Coach Tony Gustavsson hailed his players' professionalism and the positive influence of the Sydney crowd as Australia overcame intense scrutiny to defeat Brazil on Saturday in their first game on home soil in 18 months.

The Matildas, who had not played at home since defeating Vietnam in an Olympic qualifier in March 2020, have been in the spotlight since allegations of abuse were made by former striker Lisa De Vanna this month.

Gustavsson's side notched up a 3-1 victory in the first of two games against the Brazilians in front of a 15,000-strong crowd at Western Sydney Stadium. The teams will meet again on Tuesday.

Clare Polkinghorne and Mary Fowler gave the home side a two goal lead before Adriana halved the deficit for the Brazilians, only for Emily van Egmond to complete the scoring.

"I'm actually very impressed," said Gustavsson. "The professionalism in this team was really shown tonight.

"But I also want to add one thing to that: I think we got tremendous help from the support in the stands to really carry them forward.

"To be able to do that in these circumstances was impressive."

Football Australia has launched an independent complaints procedure after De Vanna claimed she witnessed women abusing younger female players during her two decades with the Matildas.

The Matildas have said they have a "strong professional, inclusive and supportive culture" that did not condone any of the reported behaviour.

Australia will co-host the Women's World Cup finals with New Zealand in 2023 and Gustavsson hopes to harness the energy of the home support when the country welcomes the game's best in two years' time.

"As a team preparing for the World Cup in '23 we need to embrace and use that to boost our energy when we play, because we always want to be a high energy, high octane team."

(Reporting by Michael Church; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

Source: Reuters

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