Matildas’ captain Sam Kerr put on a stunning masterclass in finishing, scoring four goals against Jamaica, to ensure Australia’s progression to the next round of the Women’s World Cup this morning.
The game finished 4-1 at the Stade des Alpes, in Grenoble, France, with Kerr becoming the first Australian footballer to score a hat-trick in a World Cup tournament.
The Matildas are now through to the Round of 16 behind Italy and just edging Brazil on goals scored.
This match was crucial with Brazil v Italy also playing a part in deciding the next chapter.
Ante Milicic made three changes to the line up.
Karly Roestbakken, Lisa De Vanna and Katrina Gorry come into the starting line-up, with Elise Kellond-Knight, Caitlin Foord and Tameka Yallop dropping out of the side.
Clare Polkinghorne (hamstring) and Yallop were both listed as injured.
De Vanna’s start earned her a 150th cap for her country.
The Matildas came out firing in the first half, creating chances early on.
The first goal came in the 10th minute when Emily Gielnik crossed into the box to Kerr.
The skipper beat the defender and finished it off with a brilliant header which looped over the keeper and into the net.
Then in the 41st minute, a great pass from Gielnik to Gorry saw Kerr time her run perfectly and finished again with another great header getting up to direct it down.
Jamaica came back firing in the second half, forcing the Matildas to defend.
In the 49th minute, Steph Catley was caught off guard giving Jamaica the chance to capitalise and they made history of their own with their first goal in the World Cup.
A wonderful ball from Khadija Shaw to Havana Solaun beat the Australian defence.
Jamaica continued to create chances and find gaps in the Australian defence, forcing the Matildas into turn overs.
Australians remained on the edge of their seats waiting for the final whistle in the Brazil v Italy game to help decide their fate.
Then in the 69th minute brilliant work from the winger Hayley Raso beat the Jamaican defence before her cross found Kerr who was found right where she needed to be and tapped it in to get the hat-trick.
Meanwhile, it was now 1-0 for Brazil against Italy, which meant the Matildas needed to continue the fight and get another goal to come out above Brazil in goal difference.
Here it came.. that one goal Australia was looking for to progress to the group stage.
A mistake from the Jamaican keeper Nicole McClure who failed to the clear the ball in goal, saw chasing Kerr exploit the chance and put the ball straight into the net.
With just three days until the Round of 16 clash, Milicic explained his concerns: “It’s a short turn around. We need to get better if we want to get past a strong Norwegian team.”
The Matildas will take on Norway Sunday, 23 June 5am (AEST).
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