Women's World Cup 2019

Australia silence critics

Forward Caitlin Foord reducing Australia's deficit against Brazil to 2-1 on the stroke of half-time in Montpellier on Thursday. They won 3-2 to keep their Women's World Cup last-16 hopes alive.
Forward Caitlin Foord reducing Australia's deficit against Brazil to 2-1 on the stroke of half-time in Montpellier on Thursday. They won 3-2 to keep their Women's World Cup last-16 hopes alive. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Captain Kerr says backlash after opening loss inspired comeback win over Brazil

MONTPELLIER • Australia captain Sam Kerr believes their 3-2 comeback victory over Brazil was the perfect response to critics who wrote them off after their Women's World Cup opening defeat by Italy.

Australia become only the second team to win a Cup match from at least two goals down, after Sweden beat Germany 3-2 in 1995.

Their joy in Montpellier on Thursday was in stark contrast to the gloom after being surprised 2-1 by Italy, the Sunday setback triggering a wave of criticism back home.

Kerr said that backlash fired up her world No. 6 Matildas against No. 10 Brazil between the strongest teams in Group C.

"There were a lot of critics talking about us but we're back, so suck on that one," she said. "We don't listen to the haters. Social media gives people a platform to say whatever they want, so it was good to send a message to the rest of the world.

"One game was not going to derail our World Cup hopes - and that's why it was so frustrating for us because instead of the media being 'We can turn this around', it turned negative on us and it only fuelled us, so thank you."

Brazil led when Marta extended her Cup record to 16 goals with a penalty. Teammate Cristiane Rozeira then headed in her fourth this edition and 11th in all.

Australia used the same methodical tactics that failed to turn possession into goals against Italy. But this time they paid off in the last seconds of the first half, when Caitlin Foord volleyed home Chloe Logarzo's flick-on.

They then needed some help and got it in the 58th minute. Even though striker Sam Ellis failed to reach Logarzo's long, low cross, she distracted goalkeeper Barbara and the ball bounced into the net.

Shortly afterwards, defender Monica Alves' attempted headed clearance flew into her own goal and Australia hung on to join Brazil and Italy on three points before the Italians play Jamaica yesterday.

Kerr added that Australia were thrilled to beat a quality side like Brazil but would now focus on their final group match against Jamaica on Tuesday in Grenoble.

In Group D, Japan earned their first win of the group stage, edging out Scotland 2-1. Mana Iwabuchi and Yuika Sugasawa put the 2015 finalists two up before Lana Clelland gave the Scots a late consolation.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2019, with the headline 'Australia silence critics'. Print Edition | Subscribe