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Matildas on course for quarter finals

Australia will require just a draw from their final group game against Norway on Thursday (AEST) to make the quarter-finals of the women’s World Cup football tournament in



The Matildas moved into second spot in their four-team group on goal difference after they beat Equatorial Guinea 3-2 in Bochum on Sunday and Brazil defeated Norway 3-0 in the late group D fixture in Wolfsburg.

Norway and Australia are both on three points but the Matildas have a zero goal difference, while the Norwegians are on minus two.

Brazil, who play Equatorial Guinea in their final group game, moved onto six points and outright leadership of the group.

At Bochum, two goals in three minutes early in the second half from teenager Emily Van Egmond and substitute Lisa De Vanna ensured Australia’s domination of possession and glut of chances were reflected on the scoreboard.

However, Equatorial Guinea’s skipper and star player Anonman scored twice, each time after robbing Australian central defender Servet Unzular of possession.

Acting captain and chief playmaker Collette McCallum and Van Egmond excelled in midfield and Leena Khamis added zip up front to an Australian team featuring five changes to the side that started the opening game against Brazil.

Goalkeeper Lydia Williams replaced captain Melissa Barbieri while Khamis and Samantha Kerr replaced De Vanna and Kyah Simon up front and Tameka Butt and Caitlin Foord gave way to Sally Shipard and Lauren Colthorpe.

The Matildas made the perfect start, with Khamis scoring from close range in the eighth minute after veteran midfielder Heather Garriock had a shot parried by the goalkeeper.

Australia had a cast iron penalty claim inexplicably denied by the Hungarian referee after Equatorial Guinea defender Bruna blatantly grabbed a ball coming off her post and held it for several seconds in the first half.

Equatorial Guinea were content to sit deep and concede territory and rely on the attacking skills of their talisman Anonman.

She shot wide twice before equalising in the 21st minute, after she stripped Unzular and rounded keeper Williams.

Australia dominated possession and created several more first half chances, with McCallum hitting the bar with a free-kick.

Khamis produced a great run and cross down the left in the 48th minute to set up 17-year-old Van Egmond, who rifled home an unstoppable shot.

De Vanna, who went on at halftime for the injured Shipard, put Australia further ahead when she chested down a wonderful through ball from McCallum and slipped the ball past the goalkeeper.

Coach Tom Sermanni was happy with the result but not all aspects of his team’s performance.

“There was some very very poor passages of play that we need to tighten up on, if we want to go further in this tournament,” Sermanni said in a post-match interview on SBS.

“For 90 per cent of the second half in particular I thought we played very very well but there are some aspects of the game that we need to sort out before Norway.”

He was diplomatic and philosophical about the refereeing.

“I’ll take the referee out of the game, it’s not just about he referees, we’ve got to look at how we perform and how we play.”


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