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England 0-2 Australia: Clinical Kerr ends Lionesses' unbeaten streak
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Rachel Steinberg
Press Association
Sam Kerr scored Australia’s opener in the friendly win over England (Adam Davy/PA)
Sam Kerr scored Australia’s opener in the friendly win over England (Adam Davy/PA)

Australia ended England’s 30-game unbeaten streak with a 2-0 friendly victory over the Lionesses in front of 14,489 at Brentford's Gtech Community Stadium.

The Lionesses, who lifted the inaugural women’s Finalissima trophy at Wembley last week, went into the game as favourites to tame the injury-plagued Matildas.

But Sarina Wiegman's side were behind at the break after Chelsea striker Sam Kerr took advantage of an error from Leah Williamson.

And Charlotte Grant made it two after the restart with a nodded effort that deflected off the England skipper. 

It was the last scheduled match for the Euro 2022 winners ahead of the World Cup in New Zealand and Australia, where Wiegman's side begin their campaign against Haiti in just over 100 days.

Australia head coach Tony Gustavsson had elected to rest Kerr for the 1-0 friendly defeat to Scotland last Friday, ensuring she was fresh and full of running for this match. 

Yet it was the hosts who tried to strike first as the heavens opened, with Alessia Russo attempting to poke the ball past Mackenzie Arnold from a soggy slide.

Arnold then batted away Lauren Hemp's delivery but made contact with Russo, who was deemed fit to continue after a brief pause.

Georgia Stanway's lofted effort was scooped up by the keeper and Australia survived a handful of set-pieces by the hosts, who were forced to replace the face-mask wearing Hemp with Lauren James.

England continued to press and Chloe Kelly's delivery from a corner was sent just wide by Manchester United attacker Russo's acrobatic effort.

Having soaked up the pressure, it was the Matildas who took the lead after 32 minutes when Williamson failed to get enough on a header back to keeper Mary Earps.

It proved decisive as Kerr raced away to intercept and lift the ball over Manchester United star Earps to break the deadlock. 

There was a suggestion Kerr was offside in the build-up but without VAR the goal stood and the hosts — after James skied an effort in stoppage time — went into the break trailing. 

They somehow swerved danger to start the second half when Kerr latched onto Cortnee Vine's cross and evaded both Jess Carter and Esme Morgan before firing just wide. .

England struggled to get going as the rain continued to keep conditions slippery.

James twice looked to level. Her first attempt was blocked by an Australia defender and her second forced Arnold into a low save before Chloe Kelly sent an effort over the crossbar.

Wiegman, still searching for a solution to England’s attacking woes, swapped Ella Toone for Daly on the hour mark but her side were soon on the wrong side of a two-goal deficit.

This time Kerr turned provider as she crossed for Grant, who nodded home via a deflection off the unfortunate Williamson for her first international goal. 

England pushed to claw one back but were largely left frustrated by a determined Australia, who celebrated the clean-sheet victory after Arnold coolly collected Stanway's free-kick in stoppage-time.


EnglandEngland WAustraliaAustralia WWomen's World Cup
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