The likes of Clare Wheeler and Amy Sayer stood out but are likely to make way in the starting XI for Australia’s next game against the Philippines

It wasn’t as attractive as fans may have become accustomed but a mostly second-string Matildas side were able to get the job done against an inferior and increasingly frustrating Iran in their opening Olympic qualifying match. There were glimpses of excitement in the performances some of the newer faces on the field in Perth, but a return to something closer to Australia’s World Cup form will be needed when they face a more ruthless Philippines team on Sunday.

Six players in Tony Gustavsson’s starting lineup had fewer than 25 caps each for the senior national team, and it was that inexperience that held the hosts back from what should have been an onslaught in the first half. Without a doubt there were impressive individual performances – commanding runs through the centre from Clare Wheeler, blistering pace and skill from left wingback Charlotte Grant and attacking potency from 21-year-old Amy Sayer – but without the maturity of more seasoned players to support them in those efforts the effect was tempered.

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