The Westfield Matildas are through to the quarter-finals at the Women’s World Cup after a stunning 1-0 win over Brazil in Moncton on Monday morning (AEST).
In a superb performance by the Aussies, Kyah Simon came off the bench to score the decisive goal 10 minutes from full-time to dump the South American giants out of the tournament.
The Matildas defence held firm throughout, limiting Brazil to mainly long-range efforts, with Caitlin Foord, Elise Kellond-Knight and ‘keeper Lydia Williams particularly impressive.
But the Aussies had heroes all over the park to hold on for one of the biggest results in Australian football.
It was the first time an Australian senior team has won a knockout round clash at a World Cup, with the Matildas to meet the winner of the Japan-Netherlands clash in the last eight.
Coach Alen Stajcic made two changes to his starting side with Michelle Heyman and Tameka Butt coming in for Simon and Katrina Gorry.
After an even opening it was Brazil who fashioned the first chance on eight minutes as Cristiane cut inside from the right but her shot was straight at Lydia Williams.
A corner led to the Matildas best chance soon after as Sam Kerr volleyed powerfully into the side-netting from an Emily van Egmond cross.
A congested midfield made it hard for the Matildas to get their flowing passing game going but they were proving solid as a rock in defence.
Goalkeeper Williams had little to do but was at her brilliant best to keep out Formiga just before the half-hour mark.
The midfielder let fly from about 25 metres out with a dipping strike which was destined for the top corner only for a stunning one-handed save to tip it over the bar.
Matildas fullbacks Steph Catley and Foord were causing problems for Brazil down the flanks, only let down by the final ball as the sides went to the break at 0-0.
The second half began just as tight but the Matildas excellent defensive shape meant the South Americans were struggling to create opportunities.
Just after the hour mark Marta forced Williams into a save with a crunching shot which was arrowing towards the bottom corner.
Then a huge let-off from the Matildas from the ensuing corner.
Formiga wriggled free of her marker and got a free header towards goal, the ball crashing into the post before the Matildas defence was able to clear the danger.
Stajcic brought on both Simon and Gorry to add some pace and penetration to spark the Matildas attack and the bold move paid off 10 minutes from time.
After Simon forced a turnover in Brazil’s half, Gorry showed great vision and execution to send Lisa De Vanna through on goal.
The co-captain’s shot was parried by Brazil’s ‘keeper but Simon was on hand to smash it home before sprinting off to celebrate with jubilant team-mates.
It was Simon’s third goal at this tournament and was a truly golden goal for the Matildas who have created history and march on to a quarter final on Sunday morning (AEST).
Matildas 1 (Simon 80’)
Referee: Teodora Albon (Romania)
Crowd: 12,054 @ Moncton Stadium, Moncton
Westfield Matildas starting line-up: 1.Lydia WILLIAMS (gk), 5.Laura ALLEWAY, 7.Steph CATLEY, 8.Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT, 9.Caitlin FOORD, 10.Emily van EGMOND, 11.Lisa DE VANNA (c), 13.Tameka BUTT (19.Katrina GORRY 72’), 14.Alanna KENNEDY, 20.Samantha KERR, 23.Michelle HEYMAN (17.Kyah SIMON 64’)