Matildas run comes to end with narrow loss to Brazil
The Matildas run at the FIFA Women’s World Cup has come to end, but only after a brave effort where they pushed a classy Brazilian side right to the end, before finally succumbing 3-2 in Tianjin, China.
The Matildas run at the FIFA Women-s World Cup has come to end, but only after a brave effort where they pushed a classy Brazilian side right to the end, before finally succumbing 3-2 in Tianjin, China.
Australia did magnificently to come from two goals down, to draw level with 20 minutes remaining, but a superb strike by Christiane in the 75th minute proved to be the winner.
It was a battle for Australia all night, as they were forced to endure long periods of pressure from Brazil, who maintained possession superbly and there movement on and off the ball had the Australian players chasing throughout. In the end however, Brazil managed to capitalise on three mistakes by Australia and that proved the difference.
Australia-s goals were scored by Lisa De Vanna, her fourth of the tournament, and Lauren Colthorpe, her first goal for the Matildas.
Coach Tom Sermanni made two changes from the starting line-up against Canada, with Thea Slatyer coming in for McShea and De Vanna for Caitlin Munoz. Given De Vanna's potency off the bench in earlier matches, the move to bring De Vanna in from the start was a surprise, although the need to try and get early goals against the Brazilians and get them on the back foot was gamble he was prepared to take.
Brazil though stamped their authority early, always looking composed on the ball and forcing Australia back and putting pressure on whenever we got the ball.
And once again Australia found themselves down an early goal, after Heather Garriock lost possession near the sideline; the ball was quickly was played for Formiga and her time shot from 20 metres rocketed over Melissa Barbieri and in off the underside of the crossbar.
It was almost 2-0 minutes later, when Marta found herself one-on-one with Barbieri, but the Aussie keeper made a good save with her feet.
Australia-s first chance came in the 13th minute when Thea Slatyer was able to get into the penalty box, but her shot from acute angle goes wide of near post. That however was the end of the chances for Australia for quite a while.
In what was one of the biggest turning points though of the match in the 20th minute, Matildas captain Cheryl Salisbury forced off with a calf injury and replaced by McShea.
Within in a minute of being on, McShea was sold short by a poor pass from Di Alagich near the edge of the box and Renata raced through and was clipped by McShea. While the contact was made initially outside the box, the Brazilian-s momentum saw her fall inside the box and the German referee pointed to the spot. Marta made no mistake with an excellent shot past Barbieri.
Australia, despite not being able to get hold off possession, were able to get back in the game in the 36th minute, when De Vanna pounced on a lazy back pass; rounded Andreia and slide home her shot into an empty net.
Australia came out for renewed vigour after the break and while persisting with long balls to De Vanna and Sarah Walsh to exploit their pace, it never really saw them threaten the tight Brazilian defence.
However the game was all even in the 68th minute, when Lauren Colthorpe snuck in to meet a superb Garriock cross and head into the goal and give Australia a sniff of victory.
Brazil, with Marta running the show, always looked the more likely to break the deadlock and did so when Australia turned over possession again near halfway; the ball was played forward quickly and it managed to find Christiane, who despite having three defenders around her, managed to turn and hit a screamer into the top corner, giving Barbieri no chance.
Christiane almost had a second goal in the 84th minute when she hit a magnificent free kick against the crossbar. Seconds later the ball was up the other end and De Vanna managed to beat two, but instead of bursting into the box and going herself, tried to pass and Walsh, who appeared to be upended but the referee waved play on.
One minute into injury time, Alagich was presented with a great chance to equalise when a quick free kick was played out to Burgess on the right; her cross bobbled up and bounced for the defender, but she couldn-t keep her volley down and it sailed over the bar.
That was to be it for the Matildas and while Australia showed tremendous heart to battle it out to the end, the Brazilians proved to have the experience and class to get the win and advance to a semi final showdown with the USA.
Australia 2 (Lisa De Vanna 36-, Lauren Colthorpe 68-) Brazil 3 (Formiga 4-, Marta 23- pen, Christiane 75-)
Australian line-up: Melissa Barbieri (gk); Di Alagich, Cheryl Salisbury (c) (Kate McShea 20-) Heather Garriock, Sarah Walsh, Jo Peters (Jo Burgess 81-), Lisa De Vanna, Thea Slatyer, Collette McCallum, Sally Shipard (Caitlin Munoz 78-), Lauren Colthorpe Subs Not Used: Alicia Ferguson, Rhian Davies, Kate Gill, Danielle Small, Lydia Williams (gk), Clare Polkinghorne, Emma Wirkus (gk)
Cautions: Peters (63-), Munoz (85-) Expulsions: Nil Referee: Christine Beck (Germany)