Matildas Waltz into Quarter Finals
The Matildas have waltzed into the quarter finals of the women’s soccer World Cup with a 2-1 win over Norway.
Australia needed only a draw to progress, however a double from Kyah Simon ensured the Matildas passage into the knock out phase.
Australian hearts sunk in the 57th minute when a momentary defensive lapse allowed Norway’s Elise Thorsnes to find the back of the net to take the lead.
However Australia hit back through Simon less than a minute later to restore parity. Norway pushed for the goal that would have seen them go through to the quarter-finals, but Australia kept there nerve and Simon sealed the match with a headed goal in the 87th minute.
The Matildas secured second spot in the group behind Brazil, and will now meet Sweden in the quarter finals after they upset the USA 2-1.
Following the match, Matildas coach Tom Sermanni praised the courage of his players.
“There was a lot of courage and commitment out there, we knew it was going to be a very difficult game,” Sermanni said.
“Norway obviously have a very robust style of play, and it’s very effective and it upsets they rhythm that we normally have. So for us to go in there and really tough out a game, it makes me very proud of the players.
“We’ve won two games and beaten a very formidable Norway team and I think that’s a significant victory considering their history in major tournaments and their world ranking.
“When we conceded I was worried, but when we scored I thought we really settled after that. It really was the turning point in the game.”
Sermanni made a number of changes to the side that defeated Equatorial Guinea, and bringing back Kyah Simon proved to be a master stroke. The Aussie forward tormented the Norwegian defence, and it was her combination with Lisa De Vanna that led to the winning goal.
“I’ve been waiting a while since the tournament started, and it was great to get two in one game,” Simon said.
“It’s great for my confidence to finally get one, and two is a bonus.”
The loss provided a double blow for Norway, who are now out of the running to qualify for the women’s soccer tournament at the 2012 Olympics.