Australian women footballers played a great game to edge out Brazil from the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in their round-of-sixteen match on Sunday. Switzerland and Korea were also knocked out of 2015 World Cup, losing their matches to France and Canada respectively. On the Father’s Day, number of dads watching their daughters were disappointed while another group of proud father had their hearts filled with pride. In a super-charged game at Moncton, Australia and Brazil played neck-to-neck until the 80th minute, when Kyah Simon scored her third goal of the tournament to seal a historic moment for Australia. Simon had scored twice in Australia’s group stage game Nigeria. In the other match at Montreal, France outplayed Korea Republic 3-0, beginning with a spectacular goal from Marie Laure Delie in the fourth minute while hosts Canada defeated Switzerland 1-0 in the last round-of-sixteen fixture at Vancouver.
Australians took to the field against Brazil at Moncton on Sunday with full realization of their opponents’ abilities and a past statistic of having lost twice to the South Americans in the last two World Cups. But the Matildas, as Australian women footballer are famously known, took the challenge with courage. The first half of the match was colorless despite both sides launching attacks on each other. The closest opportunity fell Australia’s way, when a superbly floated corner-kick from Emily van Egmond cleared everyone and came straight to Samantha Kerr but Kerr could only smash the side netting. Brazil also had a first-half chance, when Formiga collected the ball outside Australian penalty area but her stinging volley was tipped over the bar by goalkeeper Lydia Williams. Apart from these two notable efforts, the first half was subdued and ended 0-0.
The tempo continued after interval the one-hour mark, when the game truly came alive. Brazil’s five-time FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year, Marta picked up the ball and ran down the left flank all the way to the Australian goal. But Australian goalkeeper cleared Marta’s stunning shot and only yielded a corner. Brazil earned another corner shortly afterwards but alert Williams thwarted the Australians. In another move by Australia, Lisa De Vanna found Van Egmond but the ensuing shot was deflected behind. The Australians, however, got their reward in the 80th minute, when substitute Katrina Gorry wrested the possession and passed the ball for captain De Vanna, who had only the goalkeeper to beat. Although Luciana blocked the shot, the rebound fell in the path of another substitute Kyah Simon. Australian supporters rose in unison as Simon’s shot found the mark and history was created as Australia scored their first ever knock-out win over Brazil in the World Cup, men’s or women’s.
In the second match at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, France flew off to a frenetic start and played in Korea’s half in opening minutes. Their attacking instincts paid off as the Frenchwomen took a 2-0 lead in the first eight minutes. France built up the first move from left flank in a combination play by Camille Abily and Laure Boulleau and their effort ended with Marie Laure Delie scoring in the 4th minute. After another 4 minutes, an attack came from right flank and Elodie Thomis doubled the lead for France. The Koreans found themselves completely downplayed and soon after halftime, they trailed 0-3. This 48th minute goal came from a brilliant solo run by Le Sommer, who beat three Korean defenders before finding Marie Laure Delie. The Frenchwoman scored her second goal in a straightforward finish. Next up for France are the formidable Germany in a mouth-watering quarter-final.
The last match of the day at Vancouver saw hosts Canada getting on with their dream run in the tournament with a 1-0 victory over Switzerland. In a closely fought energetic match, both sides had their chances although the first 45 minutes ended scoreless. After the halftime, however, Canada’s Christine Sinclair had the ball in a move from midfield. Sinclair found Josee Belanger at the perfect spot and passed the ball to her. Belanger made no mistake as she swept the ball in a first-time finish to take Canada to a 1-0 lead in the 52nd minute. Afterwards, there were moves and counter-moves but no more goals accrued until the final whistle and Canada moved to quarterfinals.
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