Matildas can jump big hurdles: De Vanna

Lisa De Vanna, who became the fourth Australian to play at four World Cups on Sunday in France, says the Matildas need to be more sure of themselves.

lisa de vanna of australia in action during the women39s algarve cup tournament match between australia and china at estadio municipal de albufeira in albufeira portugal
LISA DE VANNA of Australia in action during the Women's Algarve Cup Tournament match between Australia and China at Estadio Municipal de Albufeira in Albufeira, Portugal. Picture: Octavio Passos/Getty Images

Not happy. Frustrated. Angry.

The first words that spring to Lisa De Vanna's mind about the Matildas loss to Italy would be felt by all Australians that saw their World Cup opener on Sunday night (AEST).

More than half a million people tuned in to the Matildas' World Cup opener on SBS - with more still on Optus Sport.

De Vanna, watching from the bench before her second-half introduction, said she saw a team that was unsure of themselves.

"We couldn't keep the ball at times. We rushed our decision at times, and for the strike force we have we're not quite gelling just yet," she said.

"Once we can get that on the mark we'll be quite dangerous up front. Right now we just can't seem to find the click.

"We've got big individuals who can win games, it's just getting them to feel like they can do it without being unsure."

In Valenciennes, Barbara Bonansea's double helped Italy overcome Sam Kerr's early penalty rebound goal for a 2-1 win.

In the other group C match, Australia's next-up opponents Brazil defeated Jamaica 3-0 to purr into form ahead of their clash on Thursday (Friday morning AEST) in Montpellier.

De Vanna lamented a lost opportunity.

"It (was) important to get three points but not just the three points, to give us confidence for the rest of the tournament," she said.

"I guess now it's a big hurdle for us and we have to rise. There's no bigger team to do that against than Brazil."

The exasperation that followed the result is perhaps attributable to the weight of expectation underpinning the Matildas' campaign.

For the first time in any senior men's or women's campaign, they weren't plucky underdogs - they were top seeds and expected to win their pool.

There is another issue sowing seeds of doubt bubbling away in the background; the sacking of Alen Stajcic.

Stajcic's removal back in January for overseeing an unhealthy team culture began a nasty campaign of finger-pointing and whispering, and saw Ante Milicic parachuted in as boss.

However toxic the team culture was, it can't have been worse than the abusive debate around his removal, and the botched nature of that dismissal by Football Federation Australia.

It's still plainly a tricky subject for the governing body.

An FFA media minder shut down De Vanna as she was responding to a question as to whether Stajcic's removal still had an effect on this team, saying "that question's not good for us".

De Vanna was still happy to answer.

"I try not to go on social media because I've always been someone who doesn't like people judging me when they don't know me," she said.

"But for the girls, are they going to read this stuff? Is it going to affect them?

"I don't go on social media. Especially now (after the France result), no way."


AAP