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Jul 10, 2011

Matildas need to mature, says coach

Australia need to mature if they are to take on the giants of world football, coach Tom Sermanni said after his young side crashed to a 3-1 quarter-final defeat to Sweden at the Women's World Cup on Sunday.

"It's been a mixed tournament, the team played good football, we have talented and dynamic players but the problem is that we made simple basic mistakes," said Sermanni.

Australia toppled former champions Norway 2-1 to reach the final eight for the second consecutive tournament but could not match the game of another Scandinavian power Sweden.

Ellyse Perry, 20, scored on her first run out at the World Cup five minutes before the break after Therese Sjogran and Lisa Dahlkvist had put Sweden ahead within the first 16 minutes.

But Lotta Schelin finished off the contest after 52 minutes with one of the easiest goals of the tournament when Kim Carroll failed to see her as she tried to play the ball back to goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri.

The Sweden striker jumped on the chance, rounded Barbieri and finished off.

"Four of the goals that we lost here (in the tournament) were very basic simple mistakes where the opposition haven't done anything to win the goal," said Sermanni.

"The first two goals certainly didn't help. We fought our way back in the first half.

"I thought that at 2-1 at half time we were really well into the game. The last 15 minutes of the first half I though we dominated the game. We had the momentum until they gave away the simple goal but the players didn't give up."

He added: "We managed to keep playing. The situation wasn't irretrievable at half time. We were very confident we could go on and win the game until we coughed up that third goal."

Schelin was delighted with finally breaking her duck.

"You have to be there and I was there and it was really nice to see the ball hit the back of the net," said Schelin.

"I should have scored before, so it's a weight off my mind. It's always nice to score but the most important thing is that we're through."

And she paid tribute to the Matildas, half of whom are aged under 20.

"Australia didn't give up, they're a good team and they tried really hard," said 27-year-old Schelin.

"Of course when we were 2-0 and 3-1 up, we didn't want to relax, we wanted to take control, but they kept on going. I think the third goal came at a very important time for us."

Perry expressed her delight at her first goal: "I happened to be in the right place at the right time. It was nice that it went in."

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