Oh, what could have been for Australia.
The Matildas, who many picked as a dark-horse team to make the podium in women’s soccer at the Rio 2016 Olympics, settled for a 2-2 draw with Germany on Saturday in Sao Paulo after giving up an 88th-minute equalizer. The result leaves Australia with one point heading into the final day of group play after losing to 10-player Canada on Wednesday.
Saskia Bartusiak was credited with the equalizer, although the ball appeared to carry into the net after hitting Australia defender Claire Polkinghorne’s shoulder.
Australia looked like it would take a 2-0 lead into halftime after Caitlin Foord scored in the 45th minute, following a creative bit of individual brilliance from Lisa De Vanna. Foord had set up the first goal in the 6th minute, running right down the middle of Germany’s midfield and defense and slipping in Sam Kerr for the finish.
But momentum shifted in stoppage time of the first half. Sara Daebritz scored on a stunning outside-of-the-foot strike moments after Australia finished celebrating Foord’s goal, and Germany went into halftime down by only a goal despite being outplayed.
Canada leads the group with 6 points after defeating Zimbabwe, 3-1 earlier on Saturday. Canada and Germany play on Tuesday in the group-stage finale, while Australia gets Zimbabwe, a team which lost 6-1 to Germany to open the Olympics. The winner of Group F is likely to draw world No. 3 France as the second-place team out of Group G, which makes second place in Group F the more appealing draw. Finishing third in the group, should that third-place team advance, would mean facing the winner of Group E or Group G, almost certain to be Brazil and the U.S., respectively. It makes for a tricky Tuesday for Germany, Canada and Australia.
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