Australia exploded for a half dozen goals against Brazil on Thursday afternoon at StubHub Center, sucking much of the drama out of the Tournament of Nations winner by halftime. The Matildas’ 6-1 thrashing of a Brazil side that was without Marta gave them all 9 points and the trophy. Caitlin Foord and Lisa De Vanna both had braces, De Vanna’s helping her leapfrog Kate Gill to become team’s all-time leading scorer. Katrina Gorry and Sam Kerr had the other goals.
The final score was one-sided but the lone Brazil goal came in the 2nd minute and sent shockwaves through Australia as well as hope to the United Sates who stood a chance to snatch the title with an Australia loss. Ludmilla, one of the few bright spots on the day for Brazil, won a free kick to the right of the Australia penalty area. The low free kick found Camila and she redirected it through traffic and past a screened Mackenzie Arnold.
Five minutes later the tide turned on a free kick at the other end that ended with Austraila being awarded a penalty. De Vanna’s penalty was saved by Dani Neuhaus but the rebound squirted back in front of the open side and De Vanna followed it up herself to equal Gill with 41 goals for Australia.
After several close calls, Foord scored the game-winner in the 32nd minute. Arnold had ball in hand after squelching a chance from Bia Zaneratto she rolled a ball to Emily Van Egmond. Given acres of space to operate Van Egmond played a gorgeous ball over the top that Kerr ran onto and then played a short pass to Foord who was behind the defense and tapped it in.
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Two minutes later, De Vanna put herself alone on top with 42 goals on a mirror-image goal that began with a ball over the top to Kerr. This time from the left, Kerr made the easy pass to De Vanna who tapped it in.
Australia struck again in the 41st minute. The fourth goal of the half began with an errant cross that Kerr did not give up on. Hustling after it to keep the ball in play, Kerr recycled with a pass to Ellie Carpenter. Gorry got it next and with a little work to put herself in position, beat Neuhaus to the far post.
The second half was more about what the final margin would be as opposed to any sort of comeback. Foord collected a second when Tameka Butt beat the Brazil defense with another long ball. Foord touched her way around Neuhaus and tapped it into the empty goal.
Kerr was not about to let this one go without a goal of her own. On 81 minutes she anticipated a pass from Butt and made a run between two defenders. Taking the ball down with her chest did not prevent her from maintain control and calmly buried the shot. It was Kerr’s 4th goal of the tournament.
The only bad news on the day for Australia was on the injury front. Lydia Williams took a training injury and was not available. She is expected to miss about four weeks. Chloe Logarzo started the match but also went off injured. For Brazil, Ludmilla came off injured in the second half and Marta sat out with a minor foot injury.