For the first time ever, an Australian national team played in a World Cup Semi-Final, our Matildas facing England in front of another capacity crowd at Stadium Australia on Wednesday night.
Fans gathered around Melbourne to cheer on our history-makers, with Federation Square at capacity an hour before kick-off and thousands more piling into AAMI Park.
Australia 1-3 England
Two changes were made to the starting XI from the dramatic Quarter-Final win over France. Sam Kerr returned with City Championship winner Emily van Egmond moving to the bench, while former City defender, Alanna Kennedy, missed through illness and was replaced by Clare Polkinghorne.
Matildas vice-captain Steph Catley and Ellie Carpenter both started at the respective full-back positions, the former City stars continuing their run of starting every game for the tournament.
The Lionesses settled the better of the two teams, but the Matildas slowly were able to work their way into the game.
Clear-cut chances were hard to come by, but Catley continued her strong tournament on the left-hand side of defence with a number of key interventions and a few exciting moments going forward.
England still had the better of the momentum throughout the first half and were rewarded in the 36th minute when Ella Toone found the top corner with a strike that Matildas goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold could do little about.
Australia begun the second half full of steam, creating a number of chances in the early minutes as we desperately searched for an equaliser. Carpenter was lively and played a few nice balls in behind to the likes of Hayley Raso and Mary Fowler, but the early momentum wasn’t capitalised on.
After a back and forth next 10 minutes, the equaliser finally came when Kerr launched a rocket of a strike past the England keeper and into the back of the net from well outside the box in the 63rd minute.
Melbourne’s Federation Square – as well as live sites all around the country – erupted in jubilation with the Matildas were now back on level pegging.
This sadly didn’t last long though, as Lauren Hemp restored England’s lead just eight minutes later.
A pair of former City midfielder in van Egmond and Alex Chidiac entered the pitch to try and change the game in the final 10 minutes, but this came either side of a Hayley Russo sealer in the 86th minute which put the Lionesses ahead 3-1.
While the World Cup dream might be over, there’s still one big fixture left on the horizon.
The Matildas will face Sweden in the Third Place Playoff in Brisbane on Saturday, with kick-off at 8:00pm (AEST).
Australia v Sweden
Saturday 19 August, 8:00pm KO (AEST)
Live on Channel 7 & Optus Sport