Our Matildas have created history, becoming the first Australian team to reach the semi-finals of a World Cup.
It was a dramatic penalty shootout in front of a packed Brisbane Stadium, as Cortnee Vine secured the victory with the 20th penalty of the night – the longest shootout in World Cup history.
A host of former City stars were outstanding on the night, sealing a historic 0(7)-0(6) win over France for Australia.
AUSTRALIA 0(7) – 0(6) FRANCE
With another electrifying crowd supporting the home team, the Matildas walked out unchanged following their 2-0 win over Denmark in the Round of 16.
Tony Gustavsson’s starting XI included four former City stars as former City captain, Steph Catley, donned the captain’s armband in Sam Kerr’s absence from the starting team.
Former City players, Ellie Carpenter, Emily van Egmond and Alanna Kennedy once again joined Catley in the starting line-up.
Led by Kadidiatou Diani at the front, France started the game the stronger of the two sides, as the striker looked ever threatening in the opening stages.
Herve Renard’s side had a golden opportunity to take an early 1-0 lead, but Maelle Lakrar skied her effort over the crossbar from point blank range – an early let off for the Aussies.
With over 20 minutes played, the Matildas turned the tide and mounted their own attacking pressure on Les Bleues.
Sustained pressure from those in green and gold led to Australia’s best chance of the half. A mix-up at the back involving France’s goalkeeper saw former City star Emily van Egmond pounce on the ball before showing great composure to find Manchester City’s Mary Fowler.
With France’s goalkeeper out of position, Fowler looked destined to net the opener with her first-time finish, only to be denied by an incredible piece of last-ditch defending from Elisa De Almeida.
As the game progressed, it was the Matildas who looked increasingly more likely to find the breakthrough. The introduction of captain, Sam Kerr, sparked the home crowd into raptures as the skipper went agonisingly close to assisting Hayley Raso’s effort from the edge of the penalty area.
With the scores locked at 0-0, the match headed for extra-time.
Just as they did for much of the evening, France were strong in defence, repelling with their own efforts on the counter. Les Bleues looked dangerous from the set-piece, with Mackenzie Arnold called in to make a number of crucial saves.
City legend, Steph Catley, made a late match-saving clearance to ensure the match was decided by a penalty shootout.
It was a dramatic penalty shootout that had a nation captivated. Mackenzie Arnold made a number of incredible saves as Australia had two chances to clinch the win, through Arnold and Clare Hunt, before second-half substitute, Cortnee Vine created history.
In their first ever World Cup semi-final appearance, the Matildas will take on European champions England in what is set to be a blockbuster fixture.
Australia will face European Champions England in Sydney on Wednesday night.
Australia v England
Wednesday 16 August, 8:00pm (AEST)
Live on Channel 7 & Optus Sport
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