Barbara Bonansea headed in a nook kick 5 minutes into second-half damage time — her second aim of the sport — to offer Italy a 2-1 victory over Australia in Valenciennes on Sunday.
It was a triumphant return to the World Cup for Italy, an influence in males’s soccer that was making their first look within the Women’s World Cup since 1999.
Bonansea, a 27-year-old who additionally powers the assault of her Italian membership Juventus, additionally scored her workforce’s first aim, stripping the Australian defender Clare Polkinghorne and slotting residence a shot within the 56th minute.
Bonansea additionally had a aim disallowed for offside within the first half after a video overview confirmed she had began her run close to midfield from an offside place.
Sam Kerr, the 25-year-old striker who leads the Australian assault, gave her nation an early lead when she gained a penalty kick after a foul by Italy heart again Sara Gama. Kerr’s preliminary shot from the spot was saved, however the rebound got here straight again to her and she or he slammed it in. It was her first-ever World Cup aim in three appearances within the match.
The end result threatens to scramble the race to win Group C. Brazil and Jamaica met later Sunday, and Australia nonetheless has to play each within the first spherical. Its subsequent check — towards Brazil on Thursday in Montpellier — might be much more tough.
Italy is jubilant at the whistle; Australia is crestfallen.
The Matildas can’t appear to consider what has occurred to them, however that was not efficiency: sloppy, shaky, and so they let Sam Kerr, their finest scorer, drift out of the sport within the second half. And then they bought punished.
90 + 5’
GOOOOOOOOOOAL!!! ITALY HAS WON IT!!
Italy does it! Giacinti, the ahead thrown on for a defender, wins a last-gasp nook, and so they loft a ball towards Bonansea at the again submit — and she or he scores!
Bonansea rose above Kerr to win that ball — driving it down into the bottom and into the online. What a surprising end to this one.
90 + 1’
Game stops Kerr, however Australia is actually urgent Italy now.
Kerr is doing all the pieces she will to discover a winner now: crosses, a shot there blocked by Gama at the final second. She even flopped as soon as to attempt to win a penalty. It actually feels as if the aim there’s a aim coming it will likely be an Australian one. But no ensures Italy will buckle, and the Matildas strain leaves them susceptible to a counter if the Italians have one in them.
Gooo— Nope. Italy has a second aim dominated out.
Sabatino, the substitute ahead who got here on earlier, simply collected a rebound off the submit and banged the ball beneath Williams for what appeared to be the go-ahead aim.
But the lineswoman’s flag goes up virtually instantly, and V.A.R. confirms shortly. That’s the second Italy aim worn out by an offside flag as we speak.
Italy subbing with intent now: a ahead for a defender.
Valentina Giacinti, a ahead, has changed Berndeschi, Italy’s proper again. That’s an actual assertion by Coach Milena Bertolini: she isn’t content material with a draw, which might be end result for the Italians. She’s going to push for a win.
But that mind-set, which welcome from an Italian coach, carries its personal dangers. Kerr has been quiet recently. But she gained’t be without end, proper?
Another lengthy V.A.R. delay for a potential Australia handball.
The newest stoppage — to examine if a ball that hit the substitute Lisa De Vanna in Australia’s penalty was “a clear and obvious error.” The V.A.R. official and the referee have concluded it was not deliberate, and play continues. But that’s the second or third lengthy V.A.R. delay as we speak. Every name has been proved proper, however it’s additionally an indication that the referees, lots of whom haven’t used the system in massive matches, continues to be understanding the kinks.
Delays are the most important gripe about V.A.R. — that it ruins the move of video games. But gamers and coaches alike pushed for its use at the Women’s World Cup, and appear assured appropriate calls are value any rising pains.
De Vanna comes on for Australia
Moments after the aim, Lisa De Vanna — Australia’s profession scoring chief — comes on for Logarzo on the left facet of midfield. She is a pleasant luxurious for Milicic off the bench, however with the lead gone, he wants her spark — she has scored within the final three World Cups — and Australia must get again to pounding service into Kerr within the center.
GOAL BONANSEA! And we’re tied!
Barbara Bonansea has tied issues up with a little bit of opportunism. Sensing a little bit of an informal vibe in Australia’s again line, she pounces of a too-long contact by heart again Clare Polkinghorne, strips the ball from her in some lifeless area on the suitable facet and costs in free on Williams. Cutting left, she misplaced her footing on her shot however nonetheless slide it into the suitable nook for the tying aim.
We talked about how the middle was wanting mushy; Bonansea simply landed a intestine punch.
Italy makes a halftime change to attempt to spark its midfield.
Elisa Bartoli, the Roma captain, comes on for Aurora Galli. Italy actually wants to start out getting Bonansea some higher service, or at least some extra constant time on the ball. The finest issues it has carried out thus far have concerned her.
Australia 1, Italy Zero at the break.
Australia leads on Kerr’s penalty, which was pretty gained and coolly transformed after an preliminary save for the primary World Cup aim of her profession. But the sport was shut — Italy had a aim disallowed (appropriately) for offside, and it has despatched some probing balls into the middle of the Australian protection. Australia will be ok with that half, although, realizing it in all probability ought to have had a couple of, and it’ll maintain its foot on the gasoline in pursuit of one other aim.
Concerns in central protection for each groups.
Seconds after Australia’s Chloe Logarzo had an open header at the penalty spot saved by Giuliani, it’s value noting that each groups are having some points within the heart. Italy retains making an attempt to play direct balls up the center for Girelli and Bonansea, and it has labored just a few occasions.
Italy, in the meantime, retains shedding marks within the space. Not factor to do when Sam Kerr is lurking in there, and Ellie Carpenter is rampaging up the wing or slashing into the center.
Italy’s finest likelihood but falls to Girelli
Superb likelihood for Italy’s Girelli, who latches on to a cross from the left. But Williams costs her and punches it away at the final second. She took a shot making the save, although, and is down getting therapy.
GOOOOAL!! Sam Kerrrr!
Australia leads, 1-Zero, as Kerr steps to the cease, fires left — sees her shot SAVED by Giuliani! — after which pounces on the rebound to complete.
That, consider it or not, is Kerr’s first aim in three journeys to the World Cup. But she has a fan within the former Australia star Tim Cahill. Game recognize game.
PENALTY! Gama fouls Kerr
They were wrestling in the area and Kerr goes down. Clear penalty.
A frantic start has slowed down a bit.
Or maybe it hasn’t. The first five minutes of this game played as if the game was on fast forward. Kerr had two chances, Italy punched back. But Bonansea’s goal and the delay seemed to have cooled things a little. But only a little.
Italy takes the lead! Oh wait: OFFSIDE!
But no — Barbara Bonansea, who made a stumbling and bumbling breakaway run from midfield, beats Williams but is ruled offside (correctly). She was a step behind the defense at midfield at the start of her run.
The first chances are Australia’s, and one is nearly an accidental goal.
A cross comes in from the left is punched by the Italian keeper — directly into Kerr, and the ricochet nearly caroms into the net.
Australia is back a minute later, again feeding Kerr in the center. This time, she heads close, but over the crossbar. Not really a secret what they plan to do today, but Italy better keep closer track of her.
The starting lineups for Australia and Italy are out.
Australia: Williams; Carpenter, Polkinghorne, Kennedy, Catley; Foord, Logarzo, Van Egmond, Yallop, Raso; Kerr (c)
Italy: Giuliani; Guagni, Linari, Gama (c), Bergamaschi; Giugiano; Galli, Gernoia; Bonansea; Mauro, Girelli
The strange hole in Sam Kerr’s résumé.
Sam Kerr might be the best pure goal-scorer in women’s soccer at the moment, but there still is one place she has never scored: the World Cup.
This summer’s trip to France will be Kerr’s third World Cup, but almost astonishingly for a player of her skills and scoring record — 31 goals in 77 games since making her national team debut as a 15-year-old in 2009 — she has yet to find the net in one.
“Every time I step on the field I want to score for my country, but to do it in a World Cup would be a dream come true,” Kerr said. “I haven’t done that. But I feel like I’m a different player this World Cup, I feel like I’m a different person. I feel like I’m better prepared, I know more about the game, I know more about my own game. And I feel like I’m just smarter.
“Look, if I don’t score and we win the World Cup I’m going to be happy. It’s not about me, this World Cup, it’s about the team.”
For more on Kerr’s remarkable scoring abilities, make sure you see this interactive our graphics team put together.
Australia, Italy and the “fear” factor that isn’t there.
Italy is in the World Cup for the third time, but for the first since 1999. It the longest gap between appearances of any team in the tournament’s history.
The team’s rise may have taken a while, but there was no denying it: the Italians allowed only four goals in European qualifying, and a spine built around Sara Gama, the captain of Italy and Juventus, and several of her club teammates offers both grit and continuity.
Australia Coach Ante Milicic heaped praise on the Italians this week in what appeared to be less gamesmanship and false flattery than a genuine respect for the team Italy has become.
“They are one of the most improved teams in women’s football,” he said. “Individually they’re very strong, tactically very flexible, very strong on set pieces.”
That praise was news to Gama on Saturday when she was informed — incorrectly — by Italian journalists that Milicic had said Australia “feared” the Azzurre.
“Really? Wow,” Gama said. “It means that we have worked long and hard. It’s good to hear that the other national teams start to fear us; that’s significant to us. We were already well aware of how we were growing and getting stronger, and now we have been able to show it.”
Her coach, Milena Bertolini, took the plaudits less seriously.
“Australia should fear us,” she joked. “And that’s good.”
Australia arrived at the World Cup trailed by innuendo.
Alen Stajcic was the coach who led Australia through qualifying and into the World Cup, but he won’t be in the team’s dugout on Sunday. The reasons continue to perplex those who follow the team.
The Australian Football Federation fired Stajcic in January after it said two confidential team surveys found what was described as “a culture of fear” in the team. The decision disrupted World Cup preparations, and even shocked a few of Australia’s best players.
Ante Milicic, a former assistant with the country’s men’s national team, stepped into the head job after Stajcic’s departure, but there has been continued criticism in Australia of the coaching change, and the lack of clarity for what was behind it.
In that void, and amid a climate of allegations that men in soccer had abused their power over women, speculation and innuendo grew to such a point that, on May 31, Australia’s soccer federation and one of its directors issued separate apologies to Stajcic confirming he had not been fired for misconduct.
“F.F.A. by this statement wishes to make clear that Alen Stajcic’s contract was not terminated on the basis that he had breached his contract or had engaged in any misconduct,” the F.F.A. said. “Any inference that has been drawn about these being reasons for Alen’s contract termination is wrong.”
It added: “F.F.A. acknowledges that some of the speculation about the termination of Alen’s contract was caused by statements made by one of its directors, Heather Reid.”
Reid, who had said at the time of the coaching change that if the truth were to come out, Stajcic would “never work again in women’s football,” said she apologized “unreservedly” to the coach and his family.
“I understand that my conduct in making public and private statements may have caused serious damage to Mr. Stajcic’s reputation, both in Australia and internationally,” Reid said.
About half of the questions in Australia’s prematch news conference on Saturday in Valenciennes raised the topic in one way or another. One referred to a long newspaper article published last week that detailed infighting and sexual politics inside the F.F.A. that it said led to Stajcic’s ouster.
Kerr and Milicic, though, declined to engage on the topic.
“It’s all outside noise for us to be honest,” Kerr said.