Australia beat France on penalties , book semi-final clash with England


Co-host Australia achieved a historic milestone as they secured their first-ever semi-final appearance by triumphing over France in a captivating penalty shootout at Brisbane Stadium in the Women’s World Cup quarter-finals.

Following an intense match that remained goalless throughout 120 minutes, the Matildas emerged victorious with a 7-6 win in the shootout, characterized by a remarkable sequence of dramatic twists. Cortnee Vine delivered the decisive spot-kick for Australia, while Vicki Becho hit the post for France.

Australia’s goalkeeper, Mackenzie Arnold, demonstrated her skill by making four crucial saves during the shootout, including two from Kenza Dali. Arnold’s initial save necessitated a retake due to her slight movement off the goal line. In a dramatic turn of events, Cortnee Vine converted the match-winning penalty during the 20th attempt of the shootout.

In an intriguing twist, Arnold herself had the opportunity to secure victory with the fifth penalty for Australia after saving a shot from Eve Perisset. However, her attempt struck the post, eliciting a rollercoaster of emotions from the crowd of nearly 50,000 spectators inside the stadium.

Ultimately, it was the hosts who advanced, securing their maiden Women’s World Cup semi-final berth. Australia’s next challenge will be against either England or Colombia at Stadium Australia in Sydney on August 16th at 11:00 BST.

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Australia’s historic accomplishment unfolded in the scorching atmosphere of Brisbane Stadium, fueled by the enthusiastic support of a full crowd. Despite experiencing quarter-final eliminations in three previous World Cups, Australia’s initial moments on the field appeared overwhelmed by pressure rather than invigorated by it. However, they gradually found their rhythm and missed a clear chance to take the lead just before halftime.

France’s goalkeeper, Pauline Peyraud-Magnin, appeared unsettled throughout the match and narrowly avoided conceding due to the exceptional defending skills of Elisa de Almeida, whose last-ditch sliding block showcased remarkable defensive prowess.

The game’s momentum shifted when Australia’s star player, Sam Kerr, entered the field in the second half. Kerr’s arrival energized the home fans, and she immediately contributed to an attacking move that tested Peyraud-Magnin. Despite applying heavy pressure on the French goal, Australia couldn’t secure a breakthrough in regulation time, marking the first goalless match in Australia’s Women’s World Cup history.

With both teams feeling increasing tension, the match extended into extra time, which also concluded without a decisive goal. The ensuing penalty shootout etched its name into football history and Australian folklore. Australia became the first host nation since the USA in 2003 to reach the Women’s World Cup semi-finals, potentially following in the footsteps of the USA’s home soil victory in 1999.

France, reminiscent of their previous role as disruptors in their own home World Cup four years ago, demonstrated spirited effort. However, they were unable to capitalize on key opportunities, with Arnold’s exceptional goalkeeping and Australia’s resilience thwarting their advances.

The climax of the drama occurred when Solene Durand replaced Peyraud-Magnin as France’s goalkeeper for the shootout. While Durand made crucial saves, Becko’s miss and Vine’s successful conversion secured Australia’s historic triumph, leading to France’s elimination in the quarter-finals for the second consecutive World Cup.


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