After a torrid start to their World Cup campaign in France, the Matildas are back in with a fighting chance. A 3-2 comeback victory over Brazil in Montpellier has put their right into the battle for qualification spots in C.
It was a miracle in Montpellier, but one that was nearly ruled out by an offside call.
Newcastle’s Emily van Egmond again played out ninety minutes in the contest in a holding midfield role, and had a nasty scare as Brazillian defender Monica accidentally knocked the ball past her own goalkeeper.
Although the record won’t show an assist for the own goal, Van Egmond’s long-ranged ball created the opportunity that turned the game on its head. It was nearly ruled out, however, as Brazil claimed Aussie striker Sam Kerr had interefered with play. The video assistant referee ruled out her involvement from an offside position.
The Monica own goal sealed a comeback from 2-0 down for the Matildas – just the second time a recovery of that length has been achieved on the women’s world stage. Last time a team battled back from a two goal deficit was Germany against Sweden in 1995.
Brazil had bounced out to an early lead within 38 minutes. First Marta slotted home a penalty in the 27th minute, before Christiane claimed her fourth of the tournament to double the lead over the Australians.
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Luckily, Caitlin Foord was able to drag one back a minute into extra time to give the Matildas a platform with which to mount their comeback.
Chloe Logarzo was the next to score, levelling the occasion with her first of the tournament, before Van Egmond’s pass forced an error that gave Australia all three points. It was a critial win, and one that has set a fire beneath the Matildas.
“There were a lot of critics talking about us but we’re back. So suck on that one,” Australian captain Sam Kerr said after the match. “We don’t listen to the haters.
“Look at that performance to come back from the deep. You can see what it means to us. We were so disappointed after the first game. And now we’re back in it.”
Australia are certainly back in it. If the Matildas can bowl over Jamica next Wednesday (AEST), they will qualify for the World Cu knockout stages.
Former Newcastle Jets star Chloe Logarzo was named as the Player of the Match after the five-goal thriller in Montpellier. South Wallsend’s Gema Simon was again an unused substitute in the match against Brazil. She has yet to play minutes in France.