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Women's World Cup

Former Matilda's brutal verdict of Australia's World Cup campaign

04:45 BST 23/06/2019
Matildas
The green and gold have been sent packing from France earlier than many expected

Australia have been knocked out of the Women's World Cup after losing to Norway on penalties in their Round of 16 clash in Nice and a former player hasn't held back in her assessment of the team's performance.

The Matildas experienced a turbulent campaign, losing their opening match against Italy, and struggled to create meaningful chances against Norway.

Speaking after the match, former Matilda Alicia Ferguson didn't mince her words as she declared that the green and gold fell well short of expectations and simply ran out of ideas on the pitch. 

"I think if we take a good hard look at ourselves - we haven't performed the way we expected and up to the level we should have," Ferguson said on Optus Sport

"I don't think we deserved the win tonight. We need to have a bit more than fight these days.

"I thought we just kept trying to do the same thing. Aimless crosses against a Norwegian defence and it was just like them sitting around having a cup of tea.

"We made it too easy for them. I didn't see enough combinations in to feet, to Sam Kerr.

"I just think we ran out of ideas and didn't know where to go from there."

Australian coach Ante Milicic struggled to contain his emotions after the match as the Matildas failed to reach the quarter-finals - something they had done at the past three World Cups. 

Given less than six months with the side after replacing Alen Stajcic, Milicic refused to deflect any responsibility for Australia's early exit from France

“I don’t know if there are any words to describe how I’m feeling, more importantly how the girls are feeling,” Milicic said post-match..

“The first 10 to 15 minutes we started really well and had clear cut chances to take the lead.

“Unfortunately, we can talk about a lot of decisions, the referee, coming back, the spirit the girls had to come back, the send-off, the shootout, there is a lot to comment on.

“But in the end, I am extremely disappointed. We’re eliminated. We go home. There’s too much disappointment in me right now to come up with words.

“But what I will say is I am extremely proud of them and it’s been an honour to work with this group they’re a special bunch of girls and have grown so close to me and I am disappointed I couldn’t help them realise a dream they’ve been waiting for a long time.

“In the end, I take responsibility for that and I hope tomorrow they can pick themselves up and carry on.”