Matildas World Cup preparation on track with defeat of China
The Matildas have won the first match of a two-match series against 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup host China on Wednesday night. An 83rd minute goal from Sarah Walsh sealed the impressive win.
The Matildas scored a dramatic 3-2 win overnight against World Cup hosts China in the team-s penultimate match prior to next month-s 2007 FIFA Women-s World Cup.
Prolific striker Sarah Walsh scored seven minutes from full-time to secure a famous win for the Matildas; just the fourth victory for Australia in 28 matches against one of the traditional superpowers of women-s football.
The result all the more noteworthy with Australia starting the match minus several experienced players including goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri, midfielder Joanne Peters and captain Cheryl Salisbury.
The Matildas stunned the home side racing to a 2-0 lead after just 28 minutes in what was the first match ever to be played at the new Tianjin Olympic Center Stadium. Firstly, long serving defender Kate McShea scored just her second goal for Australia when she rifled in a low shot from 10 metres after a corner caused havoc in the penalty area. Lisa De Vanna then scored the goal of the match, with the Perth-based striker picking up the ball in her own half and weaving past several defenders in the process before lifting the ball over the advancing goalkeeper.
Australia carved several half-chances in the opening half with Danielle Small and Kate Gill coming close to getting on the scoresheet. China also had their opportunities with young goalkeeper Lydia Williams forced into a couple of commendable stops.
The home side rallied with Han Duan scoring a double within the space of ten minutes soon after the interval to level the scores before Walsh-s late strike.
Australia could have extended their lead prior to Duan's second with Heather Garriock's expert free-kick tipped away for a corner.
The winner coming when a deep corner from the left was headed back across the goal by Gill for Walsh to sweep the ball home from close range.
China though could ultimately have snatched a share of the spoils in an action-packed match with replacement goalkeeper Emma Wirkus forced to palm a fiercely hit shot onto the crossbar before the ball was cleared to safety.
History was also made for two Australian players who wore the captain's armband for the first time for the Matildas. Veteran defender Dianne Alagich was named captain for the match only to succumb to injury at half time with Small proudly leading out the team for the second half until being replaced by regular skipper Cheryl Salisbury with 20 minutes remaining.
Australia will now face China for a second time on Sunday again in Tianjin, with the team to complete their preparations with a five-day camp in Sydney immediately prior to the team-s departure to the World Cup on September 5.
Australia will open their campaign against Ghana on September 12 in Hangzhou, followed by the match against Norway on September 15 in the same city before the final group match against Canada on September 19 in Chengdu.
The top two teams in Australia-s group will progress to the quarter finals and meet the top two teams of Group D which features China, Denmark, Brazil and New Zealand.
Australia 3 (Kate McShea 22-, Lisa DeVanna 28-, Sarah Walsh 83-)
China 2 (Han Duan 54-, 64-)
Australian line-up: Lydia Williams (Emma Wirkus h/t), Dianne Alagich (c) (Rhian Davies (h/t), Kate McShea, Thea Slatyer (Joanne Burgess 80-), Clare Polkinghorne, Lauren Colthorpe, Alicia Ferguson, Danielle Small (Cheryl Salisbury 70-), Heather Garriock, Lisa DeVanna (Sarah Walsh (h/t), Kate Gill (Caitlin Munoz 93-).
Cautions: Alagich 24-, Davies 78-
The Matildas squad for the 2007 FIFA Women-s World Cup:
Goalkeepers - Melissa Barbieri (Melbourne), Lydia Williams (Canberra), Emma Wirkus (Adelaide)
Defenders - Di Alagich (Sydney), Rhian Davies (Sydney), Heather Garriock (Sydney), Kate McShea (Brisbane), Clare Polkinghorne (Brisbane), Cheryl Salisbury (Newcastle), Thea Slatyer (Sydney)
Midfielders - Lauren Colthorpe (Newcastle), Alicia Ferguson (Brisbane), Collette McCallum (Perth), Joanne Peters (Newcastle), Sally Shipard (Canberra), Danielle Small (Sydney)
Forwards - Joanne Burgess (Sydney), Lisa De Vanna (Perth), Kate Gill (Newcastle), Caitlin Munoz (Canberra), Sarah Walsh (Sydney) (current home city)
TV SBS TV will broadcast a selection of matches from the 2007 FIFA Women-s World Cup including LIVE coverage of ALL Matildas matches, both semi-finals and the final.
Broadcast Schedule:- Wednesday 12 September Ghana v Australia LIVE @ 6.50pm (AEST)
Saturday 15 September Australia v Norway LIVE @ 9.50pm (AEST)
Wednesday 19 September Australia v Canada LIVE @ 6.50pm (AEST)
Wednesday 26 September 1st Semi-Final LIVE @ 9.50pm (AEST)
Thursday 27 September 2nd Semi-Final LIVE @ 9.50pm (AEST)
Sunday 30 September Final LIVE @ 9.30pm (AEST)