The Matildas are going to Nice after finishing second in the group.
The 4-1 victory over Jamaica, coupled with Brazil’s 1-0 win over Italy means Australia has progressed out of the group stage thanks to goals scored.
A historic, free-flowing game saw Jamaica score their first ever World Cup goal while Sam Kerr became the first Australian to score a World Cup hat trick.
1.A game of two halves
It’s a cliche but it’s true. In the first half, the Matildas focus was on whipping in long and high balls, typically to a waiting Sam Kerr in the box.
As has been previously shown, Australia can struggle against teams who pack numbers behind the ball. The densely populated 18-yard box and surrounding areas eat up space usually occupied by a pacy winger or a crafty midfielder - your Raso, Foord and van Egmond types.
Usually, this spells trouble for the Matildas with a lack of penetration causing frustration. However, the game plan was very evident and moreover was particularly effective in this instance.
The Reggae Girlz coach Hue Menzies noted that the Matildas were a threat out wide and his prediction came to fruition with both of the first half goals coming from balls whipped in from the flanks.
In the second half, both defensive units seemed to loosen up, creating a little bit of chaos for the neutral and heart palpitations for fans of either side.
However, the more lax style of the defence meant the Matildas were able to attack in ways they hadn’t been in the first half. Conversely, they were caught out a bit more but managed to regain their composure and limit Jamaica to the one goal.
2. Roestbakken stepped up to the challenge
Making your senior debut for your country at a World Cup is crazy enough. When you weren’t even in the 23-player squad and were selected as an injury replacement mere days before the tournament, that’s another thing altogether.
The Canberra United defender was charged with the left back position ahead of Elise Kellond-Knight who filled the role against Brazil and Gema Simon who had been utilised in the position in the lead up to the tournament.
While she was shaky to begin with the 18-year-old grew into the game and settled, holding her own against the Jamaicans. Her opponents weren’t afraid to get physical down the wings but Roestbakken was able to match them with solid positioning and pace.
3. Kerr’s breakout World Cup game
This was the kind of performance Australia had expected from Kerr the second she landed in France.
And when the Matildas needed goals, captain Kerr delivered in spades. The obvious beneficiary of the high and long game plan, Kerr was able to put into use her aerial prowess - and benefited from some slightly lax Jamaican defending in the process.
"It was a team effort, it wasn't just about me today."— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) June 18, 2019
Australia's first-ever World Cup hat-trick hero speaks after qualification for the Round of 16.
FT: Jamaica 1 - 4 Australia. #OptusSport #JAMAUS #FIFAWWC pic.twitter.com/GlHEfe6w4P
In the second half, thanks to the less stringent defence, Kerr was able to pounce on Hayley Raso’s good work - after she burst into the box and beat the defender - and secure her hat trick.
Her fourth saw her play the poacher’s role. She was on the spot when Nicole McClure miss-controlled a back pass for an easy finish.
She has now rocketed into golden boot contention and perhaps more importantly dished up the kind of big number performance that the Australian public expects from her.