The Westfield Matildas have won through to the FIFA Women’s World Cup quarter finals in Germany following their come from behind 2-1 win over Norway in Leverkusen.
Two second half goals from player of the match Kyah Simon sealed the win for the Aussies who will now go on to face Sweden in the quarter finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup on Sunday, 10 July in Augsburg.
The two teams exchanged goals early in the second half before Simon settled the issue three minutes from time to set up a meeting with world number one USA in Augsburg.
Australia met Norway in the group stage at China 2007 and on that occasion produced a 1-1 draw, helping the Europeans win the group ahead of the Matildas. This time around Australia went into the contest needing just a draw to progress on goal difference ahead of Norway.
Australia had the better of the early exchanges but it was Norway that came closest to grabbing the first goal on the quarter-hour mark when Cecilie Pedersen latched onto a loose ball and only a smart one-handed parry over the crossbar denied the Norwegian No10.
Midway through the opening half Norway goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth appeared to injure her ankle in challenging for a high ball, with the experienced 31-year-old only able to continue after lengthy treatment.
Elise Thorsnes provided the star turn of the first half by forcing Barbieri into three saves in quick succession, with the Aussie custodian stretched on each occasion.
Australia had to wait until five prior to the interval before they conjured a dangerous strike on target. The always lively Lisa De Vanna found some space and hit a strong effort from outside the penalty area into the arms of a well positioned Hjelmseth.
Norway made two half-time substitutions with Hjelmseth succumbing to her injury to be replaced by Erika Skarbo, while Emilie Haavi, goalscorer in the opener against Equatorial Guinea, also made way.
Norway made the breakthrough on 56 minutes as Thorsnes took advantage of hesitation between defence and goalkeeper to slot into an empty net.
However the Westfield Matildas responded immediately as De Vanna picked the pocket of a defender near the corner, before pulling the ball back perfectly for Simon to side-foot the equaliser.
The exchange of goals opened up the match considerably, and the same two players combined once more for Australia on 70 minutes with De Vanna again the provider for Simon, but the Aussie striker dragged her shot just wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Norway were inches away from finding a winner and with it, passage to the quarter-finals, as Trine Ronning hit a superb free-kick only to be denied by the crossbar.
But Australia were not to be disappointed and scored the winner three minutes from time with Simon producing a perfect header from Kim Carroll’s cross.
The result was Australia’s first win against the 1995 world champions across their five meetings and was doubly disastrous for Norway who not only miss the quarter-finals for the first time, but are now out of the running for the 2012 Olympic Football Tournament in London.
Australia play Sweden in their FIFA Women’s World Cup Quarter Final on Sunday, July 10 at 1pm (9pm AEST live on SBS1).
FIFA Women’s World Cup – Group D
Australia 2 (Kyah SIMON 57’/87’)
Norway 1 (Elise THORSNES 56’)
6 July 2011
Bay Arena, Leverkusen
Local kick-off: 6.00pm (30 June, 2011 – 2.00am AEST / 1.30am ACST / 12.00am AWST)
Referee: Estela ALVAREZ (ARG)
Assistant referees: Maria ROCCO (ARG); Yoly GARCIA (VEN)
Fourth official: Silvia REYES (PER)
Australia starting line-up: 1.Melissa BARBIERI (gk) (c), 3.Kim CARROLL, 4.Clare POLKINGHORNE, 7.Heather GARRIOCK, 8.Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT, 9.Caitlin FOORD (6.Ellyse PERRY 89’), 10.Servet UZUNLAR, 11.Lisa DE VANNA, 14.Collette McCALLUM, 17.Kyah SIMON, 20.Sam KERR (5.Laura ALLEWAY 80’)
Substitutes not used: 18.Lydia WILLIAMS (gk), 2.Teigen ALLEN, 16.Lauren COLTHORPE, 19.Leena KHAMIS, 21.Casey DUMONT (gk), 12.Emily van EGMOND, 15.Sally SHIPARD, 13.Tameka BUTT
Yellow cards: Kim CARROLL, Heather GARRIOCK