How it feels to be a goalie in a penalty shootout

Lydia Williams hasn’t ruled out another World Cup appearance after the Matildas were bundled out of the 2019 event in France.

Norway were clinical in a penalty shootout that ended Australia’s hopes of making it to the final eight, and beyond.

“You never really want to go out on a penalty shootout, especially when you work so hard to get back in the game,” Williams said.

The ’keeper was brilliant in Australia’s final match, making several diving saves to take the game to the shootout.

The Australians couldn’t recover after a wayward Samantha Kerr shot during the shootout, as Norway were able to slide all their shots past Williams.

“I went in and I was just thinking that I just have to do the best that I can for the team. It was a little bit nerve-wracking, but it wasn’t the first time I’ve been in a knock-out round. The pressure is a little bit heightened but it’s still a football game,” she said.

Her task was made a lot more difficult when the tournament organisers changed a rule two days before the knock-out rounds. The rule prevented goalkeepers from coming off their line before the ball left the striker’s foot. It meant Williams had to change her technique to stop taking a step forward.

While Williams wasn’t able to generate the same kind of momentum as she could with the old rule, she didn’t use it as an excuse.

“For ’keepers, the pressure is off them, but in saying that, when they got two and we didn’t have one on the board yet, you feel a little bit of the pressure. But Norway were clinical with their penalties tonight and this is one thing that we’re going to grow on and get better for next time,” Williams said.

It was the first time the Matildas failed to make it to the quarter finals in 16-years. Football Federation Australia CEO David Gallop said there will be a review into the coaching setup now that the World Cup campaign is over.

“We believed change was necessary to give us the best chance to perform at the World Cup … But now, with the World Cup campaign over, it is the right time to conduct a review,” Mr Gallop said.

Controversy has surrounded the team since the FFA coach Alen Stajcic was sacked in January and replaced by Ante Milicic.

But Williams said the experience made the team stronger.

“We’ve just grown as a group again. We haven’t made it easy, we’ve come from I guess the back, in the group rounds and then we’ve come from behind here and that’s only going to make us stronger and I think it’s just another maturity level,” Williams said.

The Matildas will now regroup to prepare for the Olympic qualifiers.

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