Women's World Cup co-hosts Australia suffer another reality check


(Reuters) - Australia's 'Matildas' have suffered a second successive reality check in the leadup to the Tokyo Olympics after being put to the sword 5-0 by World Cup finalists Netherlands on Tuesday, only three days after being hammered 5-2 by Germany.

Jill Roord, Lieke Martens, Jackie Groenen, Lineth Beerensteyn and Danielle Van de Donk all netted for the hosts at a closed NEC Stadium in Nijmegen as Australia slumped to their worst defeat since a 5-0 loss to China in 2008.

The Germany and Netherlands matches were Australia's first internationals in over a year and the Matildas were unable to assemble their best squad due to logistical problems amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the team had not shipped five or more goals back-to-back in 26 years, and new coach Tony Gustavsson is already under pressure after two games in charge.

"I think he needs to adjust, I think he needs to change something because it’s just not good enough," former Australia striker and soccer pundit Michelle Heyman told Fox Sports.

“We're a quality team and we want to be gold medal contenders and we want to win the Olympics and (we) will not be able to do that with that type of performance, so something needs to change."

Australia will co-host the Women's World Cup in 2023 with New Zealand and have ambitions of challenging the United States and Europe's top powers for global supremacy, but they have now failed to beat European opposition in nine straight games.

Captain Sam Kerr, Australia's most prolific striker, finished the tour goalless and managed only one shot at goal against the Netherlands, firing wide in the 81st minute.

Australia and the Netherlands are among the 12 nations who have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics soccer tournament, which starts on July 21.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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