VALENCIENNES, France (REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN) - Barbara Bonansea scored twice to give Italy a surprise, last-gasp 2-1 victory against Australia in their opening Group C game at the women's football World Cup on Sunday (June 9).
In a later game, Brazil's Cristiane scored a hat-trick as the former finalists sealed a superb 3-0 victory over debutants Jamaica to kick off their campaign in style.
The Azzurre, back at the World Cup after a 20-year absence, prevailed when striker Bonansea headed home from a free kick five minutes into stoppage time.
Australia captain Sam Kerr had opened the scoring by firing home on the rebound after her penalty was saved by Italy goalkeeper Laura Giuliani in the 22nd minute.
Bonansea, however, equalised 11 minutes into the second half after a defensive blunder on the edge of the box.
The goal galvanised Italy, who had already started the second half the brighter of the two sides, and they had a second effort, put in by Daniela Sabatino, disallowed for offside in the final 10 minutes.
A late barrage from the resurgent Matildas failed to produce a winner and they were made to pay when Bonansea grabbed her second of the day in injury time to seal a famous result for Italy.
"I'm very happy with this result. But it only holds real value if we get out of the group, so let's wait and see how great it is," Italy coach Milena Bertolini said.
"In the first half, we didn't showcase our qualities. Australia were strong but we didn't do ourselves justice. In the second half, we wanted to show that we were superior to Australia and we improved a lot of things about our style of play."
Australia coach Ante Milicic vowed to stay true to the Matildas' style despite the defeat.
"We are not going to change our style because we got caught at the back (for Italy's first goal)," he said, referring to a defensive lapse by Clare Polkinghorne.
"We will always build up from the back."
Brazil's victory at Stade des Alpes in Grenoble meant Vadao's side maintained their perfect record in World Cup openers and also snapped a run of nine straight defeats in the lead-up to the tournament since a 2-1 win over Japan last July.
Cristiane, starting in place of fellow forward Marta who was ruled out of the game with a thigh problem, gave Brazil the lead in the 15th minute by meeting Barcelona midfielder Andressa's cross from the left with a header past Sydney Schneider.
The South Americans continued to create chances and could have doubled their lead after earning a penalty for handball by Jamaica defender Allyson Swaby. But Schneider saved Andressa's tame effort on goal seven minutes before the break.
Cristiane tucked in her second goal from a tight angle following the re-start as Andressa provided the assist again, before the 34-year-old completed her hat-trick with a powerful free kick that rattled the underside of the crossbar and landed in.
Brazil, who are aiming to surpass their best-ever finish in 2007 when they were beaten by Germany in the title clash, take on Australia in Montpellier in their next Group C contest on Thursday. Jamaica play Italy in Reims on Friday.