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Australia wins Tournament of Nations

4 August 2017

FOOTBALL: The Australian women's football team have claimed their first trophy in seven years after a 6-1 destruction of Brazil at the Tournament of Nations.

Australia needed just a draw to claim the inaugural edition of the four-team tournament after a giant-killing run, but suffered an early scare when Brazil opened the scoring in the second minute.

But the Matildas quickly assumed dominance and a first half double to Lisa De Vanna — which made her our country’s all-time leading scorer with 42 goals — set up a 4-1 lead at the main break.

Caitlin Foord and Katrina Gorry were the other first half goal scorers — and the fun continued in the second.

Foord made it 5-1 and a personal brace by collecting the ball on a breakaway, rounding the goalkeeper and tapping into an empty net.

Sam Kerr was unplayable for most of the game and after winning a penalty and dishing out two assists nabbed one for herself to make it 6-1 during the 81st minute. She showed impeccable control to chest a long ball down into her path before poking it past the keeper.

The rout of the eight-ranked Brazilians came after a 1-0 win against world No. 1 USA and a 4-2 spanking of No. 6 Japan earlier in the tournament.

With two major tournaments in the next two years, a squad full of promise now has the proof of its progress under coach Alen Stajcic. 

It will also give the Matildas’ world ranking a boost — which will assist in seeding for both the 2018 Asian Cup and 2019 World Cup. The Matildas last hoisted a trophy at the 2010 Asian Cup.

The Australians wore black armbands in respect to legendary football broadcaster Les Murray, who died on Monday.

The triumph over Brazil came despite an early setback.

Skipper Elise Kellond-Knight conceded a free kick in the opening minute, which Tamires rolled across the box for Camila to score from.

The replay made for excruciating viewing, as the ball trickled home within the reach of three defenders and goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold.

Five minutes later, Kerr helped Alen Stajcic’s team get back on level terms. The in-form striker was hauled down in the box by Bia Zaneratto, allowing De Vanna to equalise from close range after her initial spot kick was saved. Arnold’s fine save and quick release allowed Australia to take the lead, with Foord finishing an end-to-end move just after the half hour.

Having provided Foord’s assist from the right, minutes later Kerr played in De Vanna from the left and the veteran made no mistake to make the score 3-1. De Vanna’s brace moved her ahead of Kate Gill as the Matildas’ all-time leading goalscorer.

Australia maintained the rage, with star midfielder Gorry beating two defenders and striking a sweet individual goal.

After the break, Foord made it five by latching onto substitute Tameka Butt’s fine through ball and rounding the keeper.

With 10 minutes remaining, Kerr then bustled her way through a bruised Brazilian defence, poking home past Dani Neuhaus.

The only negative for Australia was an ankle injury to Chloe Logarzo, who was taken off in agony in the first half.

Australia 6 (De Vanna 7m, 34m, Foord 32m, 68m, Gorry 41m, Kerr 81m) Brazil (Camila 2m)

AAP

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