The Matildas have shocked many to become the first Australian senior team to make it through a knockout match at a World Cup.
One person who isn’t shocked is Australian coach Alen Stajcic who has remained optimistic throughout the entire tournament and has kept to his plan to play exciting attacking football.
His tactic to hold Gorry and Simon until the later part of the match was superb and when they did go on they eventually made an impact, an impact that the South Americans, frustratingly could not counter.
An 80th minute strike from substitute Kyah Simon was enough to seal it for the Matildas after some courageous play from goalkeeper Lydia Williams denied the South Americans earlier on.
Once again it was Lisa De Vanna who caused Brazil all sorts of problems making an expert angled run to get in behind the defense and latch onto a perfectly weighted pass from Katrina Gorry who had only been on the field a short time herself.
Brazilian keeper Luciana could only parry away Lisa De Vanna’s shot, but Kyah Simon was on the sport and cooly found the corner of the net to take the Australians to the lead.
Some are calling this an easy tap in, but it was more than that. Firstly, she had the vision and fortitude to get there and a ball parried off the keeper's gloves at speed and in wet conditions is no easy tap in from that angle under pressure.
Simon’s goal was her third of the tournament putting the seventh world ranked team out of the tournament and on a plane home.
Even though the Matildas matched it with the Brazilians in possession, the South Americans had more shots on net and a spirited Matilda’s back line kept them scoreless with some solid defending, and a little bit of luck after early chances went begging.
What has been clear throughout the tournament, has been the amount of depth that Stajcic has to call on and also the superb balance between attack and defense. He has managed to turn the shaky doubtful players that donned the green and gold into a force to be reckoned with.
In what he described as his greatest moment in football, Head Coach Alen Stajcic could not have been prouder of his team.
“It’s a big moment, I don’t think it’s the biggest moment yet, we’re all super proud and excited…but there is still more to come”.
“I think we're a dangerous team, I think we’re one of the most dangerous teams at the World Cup if not the most dangerous team going forward,” said Stajcic.
The Matildas will play the winners of Wednesday’s round of 16 match between the Netherlands and reigning world champions Japan.
By Paul Brown