Through a brooding sky the clouds parted directly above the turf as if to say, “Matildas, it’s time to shine.” And so they did, with unforgiving ferocity against the Philippines, delivering an 8-0 thrashing in front of an adoring crowd of nearly 60,000 as hat-tricks from Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord and another a level of class from Mary Fowler and Clare Wheeler put the Matildas that bit closer to 2024 Olympic qualification.

After some newer Matildas faces were given a chance to test their mettle against Iran, coach Tony Gustavsson opted to return to his strongest starting XI from the recent Women’s World Cup.

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