It might seem an unlikely football rivalry but the Matildas and Brazil have faced each other at least annually for the past five years.
Number 1: 2019 World Cup, group game
By the time the 2019 World Cup arrived, Australia had not lost to Brazil in 3 years and had not lost in regular time in eight, but the first game loss to Italy had defied Australia’s reputation as one of the favorites and Brazil knew that another defeat could see their rival removed from serious contention.
Things started well for Brazil, Australia had a penalty denied and as Elise Kellond-Knight tumbled in the penalty area, she took Leticia Santos with her, the referee pointed to the spot and Matildas nemesis Marta stepped up to score in her fifth World Cup.
Brazil went 2-0 after Tamires nutmegged Emily Gielnik and with a defense splitting pass, freed up Debinha who crossed for Christiane to score from a header, Australian fans in the stadium and those who awoke in the early hours to watch from home were in shock.
As the clock ticked closer to half time, Australia found a lifeline, a dangerous cross was flicked on by Chloe Logarzo for Caitlin Foord to force home, her first World Cup goal was accompanied by a rallying cry of a celebration, lifting her arms to urge the team and fans on, 2-1
Strangely Brazil removed Marta at half time and Australia started to take control of the game, Logarzo again was involved, swinging a ball into the dangerous area, where it bounced twice, once past two defenders distracted by Sam Kerr and another past the goal keeper, it was a ball whipped in with venom, any touch would have sufficed, but none were needed, 2-2.
What would an epic game be without controversy? Australia have not always had the best luck for either the men or the women in World Cup history but on this occasion, luck and VAR would help win the day.
Emily van Egmond, playing deeper in midfield directed a long pass to Kerr, the captain was sandwiched between two defenders and in and off-side position and when the ball flew into the net, the flag was immediately raised to disallow the goal. After what seemed like an eternity, the VAR determined that Monica of Brazil had been the only player to touch the goal and it was awarded as an own goal, there were no fingernails left in the stadium but the score was now 3-2 to Australia.
Both sides had chances, but the Matilda’s held on to record an important victory, an incredible comeback and win a match considered a World Cup classic and the best of all the Brazil versus Australia matches since 2015.