Sam Kerr scored an incredible four goals on Wednesday morning to give the Matildas a commanding 4-1 win in their vital Women’s World Cup match against Jamaica.
Australia needed to win handsomely against the lowest-ranked ‘Reggae Girlz’ at Grenoble as it looks toward the tournament finals.
The Australian women finished second in their group after Brazil edged past Italy 1-0 in their match played at the same time.
Italy tops the group, thanks to its stoppage-time winner against Australia in their World Cup opener.
The Matildas next head to Nice to take on Norway in the Round of 16 on Sunday.
On a balmy night in Grenoble, and in front of a watching FIFA president Gianni Infantino in the stands, the Matildas looked set for an easy night after taking a 2-0 lead into the break.
But Jamaica, inspired by leading light Khadija Shaw, had other ideas and ran the show for 20 minutes, scoring through Havana Solaun.
Kerr calmed Australian nerves with a 69th-minute tap-in and completed her tally with the Jamaican challenge quelled.
It is just Kerr’s second hat-trick in a Matildas shirt, and her most important.
She started her party with a looping header past Nicole McClure in the 11th minute, from livewire winger Emily Gielnik.
Emily van Egmond hit the bar as Australia rained crosses in Kerr’s direction, all part of a plan to unsettle the Jamaican defence.
Katrina Gorry, one of three changes to the Matildas side from their 3-2 comeback triumph over Brazil, dinked a neat ball for Kerr to head her second three minutes from half-time.
But the suggestion that Australia might use its athleticism to run over the top of the world No.53 was quickly dispelled, when Shaw won a contest with van Egmond to release Soluan.
The 24-year-old rounded Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams and slotted home for a piece of history; Jamaica’s first goal at a Women’s World Cup.
Jamaica lifted their game and for 15 minutes, Shaw was uncontainable as they sought an equaliser.
It took Hayley Raso, just minutes after her introduction, to dance into the box and lay a cutback to Kerr’s feet to re-establish the two-goal buffer and Australia’s confidence.
The goal settled the Matildas, but not the crowd as word got out of Brazil’s go-ahead penalty in Valenciennes.
As the scores stood, the Matildas faced the almighty challenge of playing the world No.4 France in the next round.
That is, until McClure mis-controlled a backpass to allow Kerr her fourth, and a more manageable clash with Norway.
Aside from Kerr’s four-goal haul, there were other individual achievements to savour at the Stade des Alpes.
Veteran Lisa De Vanna played game 150, 18-year-old Karly Roestbakken made her first Matildas start and Aivi Luik, a late substitute, played in her first World Cup match.