Australia defeated Brazil 2-1 putting on a show in front of a boisterous 17,000 capacity crowd at Pepper Stadium in Penrith.
It was a tentative start for the Matildas with a few early fouls in an effort to stall a clearly hungry Brazil, some early nerves on display playing in front of a big and noisy home crowd.
By the 10th minute however Australia started to settle and apply the screws.
As we have seen before, the immense pace of Sam Kerr and Lisa De Vanna started to poke holes in the Brazil backline as the visitors responded with late tackles and yellow cards.
Emily Van Egmond and Caitlin Foord paired well with Kerr by switching out and chipping balls into space. Lots of creative and clever build up but a lack of execution on the final ball letting them down.
An opener was in the cards however with Australia knocking on Brazil’s door time and time again. And what a goal it was, a thing of beauty.
At the 41st minute Tameka Butt chipped a ball into the 18 yard box and De Vanna executed a world-class highlight-reel volley to open scoring and put Australia in front 1-0.
With Marta and Christiane isolated up high, Brazil were unable to overrun the midfield to get them any service. The Brazil game plan was also well thwarted by Steph Catley who was able to contain almost everything that came her way.
Australia feeling confident and looking fresh as they went into the halftime break. The weight was on Brazil’s shoulders to get back the momentum.
The second half began where the game left off with Foord and Butt bossing the midfield and Brazil almost immediately under pressure again.
However the Matildas relentless press was starting to take a toll. Brazil eventually able to secure a meaningful spell of possession and forcing Australia to actively defend from the 55th minute.
Marta almost orchestrated a set piece goal via a looping free kick which was just beyond the foot of Cristiane at the far post.
Shortly following, Andressa put her foot through the ball rattling the post, only an inch away from an equaliser creating a wave of gasps from the fans.
Australia responded to this pressure with a 66th minute goal via the head of superstar Kerr who lobbed an Alanna Kennedy chip just over goalkeeper Daniele’s outstretched hand.
Cristiane was not done however and in the 67th minute she beat two defenders and shot, Brazil hitting the post for a second time in 10 minutes.
Australia were in front but a lead against the talented world number 9 Brazil is always vulnerable.
The 75th minute saw the game settle again. A full crowd chant began and fresh legs were hitting the field with multiple subs from both teams.
Brazil were down by two but remained calm and probing, still trying to find a way through a tenacious Elise Kellond-Knight and Ellie Carpenter.
Then in a flash Debinha finds the back of the net in the 81st minute after being played in by Cristiane and finishing coolly. After a solid performance Carpenter was just unable to match the fresh legs of Debinha.
To concede so quickly and effortlessly would have rattled the Matildas of old but this mature seasoned side were quickly reorganised and did not look vulnerable again finishing the game with a 2-1 win.
Brazil still unable to find a solution for Australia’s creative and fast attack, overlapping wingers and physical midfield presence.
Ultimately flat-footed off the ball Brazil were often trapped in their own half unable to play out of the Australian press.
This loss sets the scene for these two teams to fire up again at their next match in Newcastle on Tuesday 19 September.
There is a palpable tension when Australia and Brazil meet. Emotions run high with memories of critical World Cup and Olympic eliminations from the not-so-distant past.
Expect to see Brazil rise up in Newcastle to seek redemption and put the squeeze on Australia to even up the series.
Australia 2 (De Vanna 41′, Kerr 67′)
Brazil 1 (Debinha 79′)