After going behind 2-0 in 38 minutes, and with their Women’s World Cup hopes hanging by a thread, the Matildas have stormed back to beat Brazil 3-2 in the ‘Miracle in Montpellier’ with a lot of grit and a little assistance from VAR.
When these two women’s football heavyweights go head to head, it is often the Brazilians who get the upper hand, knocking Australia out at the quarter final stage of both the 2015 Women’s World Cup and 2016 Rio Olympics, but after overcoming insurmountable odds to keep their World Cup dream alive, the jubilant Matildas have avoided an early exit, and will now go into their final group game against Jamaica with the possibility of topping Group C.
Australian captain Sam Kerr was in a bullish mood at the final whistle, saying “There were a lot of critics talking about us, but we’re back, so suck on that one. We don’t listen to the haters. I love these girls. They’re something else. From our reaction, you can see what it means to us. We knew we were a top-10 team. Now we’re back in it. And we sent a message to the rest of the world.
“People don’t understand the belief we have in this team, the confidence we have in each other, the belief we have in Ante. One game was not going to derail our World Cup hopes.”
Scorer of the second goal, Chloe Logarzo, was happy to get the win and relieve some of the pressure on under fire manager Ante Milicic.
“That win was for Ante, the criticism is really on his behalf and it’s disheartening for us to hear that because the amount of belief he’s instilled in us, and the amount of work he’s put in is incredible and I don’t think people see that.”
For his part, Milicic was proud of his players resolve and belief, adding “Tonight is one of the finest Australian performances I’ve seen. The players deserve all the rewards they were given tonight. I’m really delighted for them. They never stopped believing, and the coaching staff never stopped believing. We kept on believing in our style and in our football and it’s an Australian performance to be proud of.”
Having given themselves a lifeline, the Matildas must now focus on recovering quickly ahead of their final group stage game on Tuesday against a tough Jamaican outfit, knowing a repeat of their performance against Brazil will surely see them through to the Round of 16.