The Matildas have secured a strong comeback win over frequent nemesis Brazil in the FIFA Women’s World Cup group stage, overturning a 0-2 deficit to walk away 3-2 winners.
It was a game filled with history, passion, a few controversial calls, and no small amount of grit. A robust performance from the Australian side in the first half wasn’t wholly reflected by the scoreline, and a solid penalty shout from Tameka Yallop was overruled due to a handball further back on the pitch. The first goal in Montpellier came at the other end a little later, when Elise Kellond-Knight tugged the jersey of Brazil’s Letícia Santos in the box. That penalty was awarded and slotted away by Marta. 0-1.
The margin was doubled around ten minutes later, when a mazy nutmeg and a perfectly weighted cross found Cristiane nodding the ball past Aussie keeper Lydia Williams. 0-2.
The Matildas sought revenge late in first half, when a probing cross was directed to the boot of Caitlin Foord. 2-1. The second half showed more promise for Australia, when Chloe Logarzo powered a low shot towards the talismanic Sam Kerr. The forward didn’t even need to touch it for the ball to bobble past Brazilian keeper Barbara. 2-2.
Remember that bit about controversial calls? Another cross directed at Kerr bounced off opposing defender Monica and into the net. The Video Assistant Referee went back to determine if the ball actually grazed Kerr, who would have been offside had she scored it. But no, it definitely came off the Brazilian. Own goal, 3-2. The scoreline held.
Australia now sits third in Group C following that worrying loss to Italy last week. With a strong performance against Jamaica, the Matildas will have a good shout to progress to the knockout stages – and a clearer shot at the trophy.