Foord brilliance steers Matildas past Mexico

Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson believes superstar attacker Caitlin Foord is only now starting to get the recognition she deserves after brilliantly steering Australia to a hard-fought 2-0 win over hard-pressing Mexico.

Arsenal dynamo Foord teed up Hayley Raso to open the scoring in the ninth minute then netted a wonderful curling effort herself in the 52nd at Toyota Field in San Antonio, Texas.

It was another big showing from Foord, who has typically played second fiddle to injured skipper Sam Kerr.

"She's starting to slowly get the credits that she deserves," Gustavsson said.

"The one thing that she has that some smart and technical players don't have is the commitment to defend.

"Look at her slide tackles, look at her off-ball work. Like she is committed like no-one else - she likes to compete, she is a competitor.

"Combine those two: being technical and competitive - it's rare, especially at the top, top level.

"And then look at her playing week in, week out at one of the best clubs in the world - I definitely think she's up there with the best ones."

The Matildas also learned on Wednesday (AEST) that Zambia will join the US and Germany in their group at the Paris Olympics, after beating Morocco 3-2 on aggregate in their qualifier, courtesy of a 2-0 win in the second leg.

With Clare Hunt (foot) injured, Steph Catley moved centrally and the impressive Kaitlyn Torpey started at left-back.

Emily van Egmond played in midfield alongside Kyra Cooney-Cross amid Katrina Gorry's absence (ankle).

Australia actively played out from the back against the world No.31, dealing with a relentless press.

They also tested out different formations and personnel in an ideal Olympics tune-up.

"It was exactly what we needed. I said before this game, we were really going to test our limits tonight," Gustavsson said.

"We know Germany's going to come flying at us with pressing, we know the US is going to come flying at us with pressing and we said 'let's test our limits'.

"We showed against Uzbekistan that we played one of the best attacking football that we've played under my time with the Matildas and we said 'can we now play that type of football against a higher-ranked opposition?'

"Now the next step is 'can we now do this against a top-ranked opposition?' - which we haven't tested yet.

"So credit to the players, they found a way into the game the last 10 minutes of the (first) half, they solved it on the park themselves, a very mature team does that.

"Then we did some halftime adjustments and we went out in the second half much more aggressive, which we want to see the Matildas be."

Australia took the lead when Foord beat her defender and squared the ball to the top of the box.

Raso turned her defender inside out and beat Mexico goalkeeper Esthefanny Barreras with a shot into the bottom corner.

Hayley Raso.
Hayley Raso is congratulated by teammates after scoring the Matildas' opening goal.

Early in the second half, Foord received the ball out on the left and, guarded by Araceli Torres, shifted her weight onto her right and shuffled towards the edge of the 18-yard box.

She then stopped and propped, shimmied then wrapped her right boot around the ball to score.

Mexico should have dragged a goal back late after a Cooney-Cross turnover but Casarez fired straight at Arnold.

Brisbane Roar youngster Sharn Freier debuted in the closing minutes.

Australia next play China in Adelaide on May 31 and Sydney on June 2.

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