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Unlucky? Yes, but Matildas should have gone further

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23.06.2019

Another World Cup exit cloaked in drama, controversy and, ultimately disappointment.

Another tournament where "brave", "gallant" "unlucky" Australia crashed out of the competition, with fans and some pundits proclaiming that once more they have fallen victim to the cruellest of fortunes.

Norway won a penalty shootout against Australia.Credit:AP

But did they simply underperform?

Should they, as the No. 6 ranked team in the world, at least have played to their rating and made the quarter-finals?

After all, the Matildas were eliminated in the round of 16 by Norway, a team ranked six places below them, whom they would have expected to beat.

Many pundits were tipping Australia as dark horses for the title, with berth in the last four slated as a genuine aspiration.

The players themselves, a so-called golden generation spearheaded by perhaps the best striker in the world in Sam Kerr, had loftily spoken of aiming to claim the crown.

In that context, and with the expectations from home, not to mention the considerable sums invested in their preparation and lead-up training camp in Turkey, it's fair to say that exiting at this stage was not........

© The Age