HomeFootball NewsSteph Catley's Penalty Powers Australia to Nervy Opening Victory at Women's World...

Steph Catley’s Penalty Powers Australia to Nervy Opening Victory at Women’s World Cup Co-hosts


In a nervy Women’s World Cup opening match, co-hosts Australia claimed a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Republic of Ireland, courtesy of a second-half penalty converted by Steph Catley.

Australia entered their home tournament without their captain, Sam Kerr, who was sidelined due to a calf injury sustained during training. The absence of their star player presented a challenge for the Matildas, but they were determined to make a strong start to their campaign.

In contrast, Republic of Ireland made their first-ever appearance at a World Cup finals, led admirably by Katie McCabe, who displayed promise and determination on the tournament debut. The match took place in front of a roaring crowd of over 75,000 fans in Sydney, creating an electrifying atmosphere.

The game’s decisive moment came in the second half when Hayley Raso was fouled by Marissa Sheva inside the box, awarding Australia a penalty. Steph Catley stepped up confidently and delivered a powerful shot, finding the top right corner of Courtney Brosnan’s goal. The Irish goalkeeper had little chance to stop the well-placed strike, leaving her otherwise unworked throughout the match.

Despite their victory, stand-in captain Steph Catley acknowledged the impact of Sam Kerr’s absence, describing her as one of the best players in the world, both on and off the field. The Matildas were heartbroken to lose their influential leader, but they rallied together to secure a crucial win in their opening encounter.

For Vera Pauw’s Republic of Ireland, the result was disappointing, as they showcased resilience and battled valiantly throughout the match. Katie McCabe led her side admirably, and the team fought bravely, recognizing that the game could be decided by a single mistake from either side.

Reflecting on the match, Vera Pauw emphasized her team’s battling spirit and determination. Despite the loss, the Irish side displayed promise and purpose, showing their potential to compete against strong opponents in the tournament.

As the Women’s World Cup continues, Australia will look to build on their opening victory, eager to make a deep run in the competition. The co-hosts have shown their resilience and ability to overcome challenges, while Republic of Ireland will regroup and prepare to face their next opponent, Canada, in a bid to secure their first win in the group stage. The tournament promises more thrilling matches and intense competition as teams vie for glory on the global stage of women’s football.


Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.


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