Australia’s Matildas have managed one of their most significant achievements with victory in the Tournament of Nations following a 6-1 rout of Brazil in Carson, California.
The Matildas’ triumph will sit alongside their Asian Cup win in 2010 in terms of its importance on the international stage and it is sweet revenge for their quarter-final exit via penalties at the hands of Brazil at last year’s Rio Olympics.
Their undefeated run through the round-robin tournament included a historic defeat of world champions United States and local rival Japan, setting them up for an assault on the World Cup in France in 2019.
The Matildas, who only needed a draw to win the Tournament of Nations, produced a dominant first-half display against Brazil to lead 4-1 at the break and put the result beyond doubt, following goals to Lisa De Vanna (2), Caitlin Foord and Katrina-Lee Gorry.
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Defence was the order of the day from both sides after half-time, but Foord made the most of a through ball from teammate Tameka Butt in the 68th minute to extend the Matildas’ lead.
Earlier, Brazil could not have asked for a better start when Camila found the back of the net in only the second minute.
But Brazil’s lead was short-lived with De Vanna slotting the first of her two goals five minutes later.
The Matildas moved in front when Foord finished off an outstanding full-field movement, which included a neat cross from Sam Kerr, just after the half-hour mark and her effort was followed by De Vanna’s second two minutes later.
Gorry rounded out the scoring in the 41st minute, her goal making up for some of the disappointment when she missed a spot kick against Brazil at the Rio Olympics.
Kerr, coming off a hat-trick against Japan, closed out the scoring with the Matildas’ sixth goal in the 82nd minute.
While there is still much planning ahead for Matildas coach Alen Stajcic and his squad with the World Cup on the horizon, their performances in the Tournament of Nations will only do wonders for their confidence.
Stajcic spoke about the self belief gained from the Matildas’ first ever win over the US – a 1-0 victory- in their opening match last Friday and that would have grown with the impressive display in accounting for 2011 World Cup winners Japan.
The fact they weathered an early storm from Brazil by responding with six unanswered goals will put every international team on notice that the Matildas are tracking well in the build-up to the World Cup.
The Matildas have made the quarter-final stage at the past three World Cups.