A year ago yesterday, the Matildas were held to a 0-0 draw with Portugal in the second game of the Algarve Cup.

Ten months ago, the Matildas were held to a 0-0 draw with South Korea in the opening group game of the Asian Cup.

Yesterday, the Matildas defeated South Korea 4-1 at Suncorp Stadium.

Australia is now two wins from two games in 2019 and under interim coach Ante Miličić.

To say a lot has changed in those 12 months wouldn’t even come close to doing it justice.

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But these two matches, while being an incredibly small sample size, have provided Matildas fans with some glimpses of what this team has done and can do.

There were six changes from the line up which defeated New Zealand 2-0.

Mackenzie Arnold, Gema Simona and Laura Alleway all got full games under their belts against South Korea.

While Aivi Luik played over an hour, Lisa De Vanna scored her 46th international goal and Hayley Raso continued her return from her back injury.

The team appears to be playing freely and with a real desire to maintain possession. The quest for depth is moving away from using players in their secondary positions and focusing more on multiple options.

This is exemplified by the continued use of – and 90 minute shift from – Gema Simon as a left back. It also applies to Aivi Luik playing as the defensive midfielder and Laura Alleway partnering Clare Polkinghorne in the centre of the defence for the full match.

The battle for the more advanced positions is also heating up with Emily Gielnik’s sparkling form making her case for consistent starts hard to ignore.

Sam Kerr’s has literally been leading from the front with two goals since she was appointed captain. Goals to Raso and De Vanna as well as the undeniable intelligence, pace and brilliance of Caitlin Foord create more exciting headaches for Miličić.

Yes, the Cup of Nations is only a step above a series of friendlies and yes, it has only been two games.

But any fears that the off field dramas of the last couple of months would affect the team in any adverse way are surely on their way to being allayed with the performances and the results that have been produced.

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Marissa Lordanic
marissa.lordanic@gmail.com