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Brazil through to medal round on PKs over Aussies

Marta and Brazil are two wins from a gold medal (Getty Images)

Marta and Brazil are two wins from a gold medal (Getty Images)

Host Brazil survived a tense, scoreless draw and advanced to the semifinals after a gripping penalty shootout against Australia. The two-time silver medalists will meet Sweden on Tuesday afternoon at the Maracana after the Swedes also used penalties to send the United States to their earliest ever exit from a global tournament.

Local favorite Marta played an extraordinary match making strong runs deep into stoppage time including one in the 119th minute when she stopped on a dime to shed defender Alanna Kennedy to win an uncontested shot that was knocked out of play by Australian keeper Lydia Williams. It was Williams who made the pivotal save in regulation when she lunged across her line and reached back to stop Debinha in the 90th minute. Australia’s best chance came through Chloe Logarzo, an early substitute after Stephanie Catley got injured, rang a shot from distance off the cross bar.

With no goals to be found across two hours the match was decided on spot kicks and Marta needed her teammates to bail her out after her anchor kick was stopped by Williams. Both teams had converted the first four and Marta’s miss gave Katrina Gorry a chance to win it for the Matildas. Brazilian keeper Barbara, who appeared to jump her line on every kick, stopped a poor attempt by Gorry to extend the drama and take Marta off the hook. The kickers took over again with both sides converting two more and then Tamires beat Williams to give Brazil a 7-6 edge. Alanna Kennedy’s must-make shot to keep the shootout going was stopped by Barbara setting off a massive celebration at Belo Horizonte.

Brazil is trying to join the United States in 1996 as the only host nation to win gold in women’s soccer. No other host team had so much as won a knockout match.


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