Australia wins ten-round PK shootout over France – Equalizer Soccer

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James Whitehead / SPP

The second and final day of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup quarterfinals started with co-hosts Australia beating France in a historically long penalty shootout while England taking on Colombia will round out the day.

Couldn’t watch and need to know what the big story is? This is what happened on the second day of the World Cup quarterfinals.

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Australia 0, France 0 (7-6 PKs)

The Big Story: After 120 scoreless minutes, France brought in their number three goalkeeper, Solène Durand, from the bench to handle the imminent penalty kick shootout. Durand did have multiple saves to keep France’s hopes alive but eventually, co-host Australia was able to win it all in the 10th round of penalties (the longest in World Cup history), thanks to a Cortnee Vine goal. It is the first time that the Matildas will compete in the World Cup semifinals.

The Big Moment: After France was awarded a corner kick, on a ball that appeared on replay to fully go over the end line, the corresponding set piece found the back of the net for France off the head of Australian Alanna Kennedy. The goal was quickly waived off for a foul inside the box where it looked like Wendie Renard might have pulled down Caitlin Foord. The call kept the match scoreless in the first part of extra time.

What it means: Before the big matchup, Australia head coach Tony Gustavsson said that star striker Sam Kerr would only start the match against France if she was 90-minute fit. She started the evening on the bench, leading to the question, when will Kerr enter the match?

Heading into the match, although the only actual change in the French lineup from their Round of 16 game was outside back Ève Périsset getting replaced by center back Maëlle Lakrar, the OB for CB change caused a lot of rotation in order to fit the change in France’s backline. In the first half, there were clear moments of miscommunication between the defenders themselves and the goalkeeper. Additionally, the Australian press caused a substantial amount of turnovers in the French half with passes under pressure going wide and out of bounds, but the Matildas were not able to capitalize. The communication woes can be highlighted in what ended up being a goal-line clearance from Elisa De Almeida in the 41st minute, but could have just as easily been Australia’s Mary Fowler opening up the scoring on an empty net.

The French midfield purposefully worked to cut off the Matildas from playing through their double pivot in the middle of the pitch. So the Aussies went back to what we’ve seen from them all tournament, dangerous long balls trying to find Mary Fowler and company behind the French backline. On the other side of the pitch, France’s Eugénie Le Sommer and Kadidiatou Diani were able to cause a number of turnovers in dangerous places that one way or another led to counterattacks but Les Bleues struggled to find the frame with only two shots on target out of their nine shots in the first half.

The Matildas came out of the locker room at the half on the front foot and when Sam Kerr entered the match in the 55th minute she immediately injected energy into an already rowdy Brisbane crowd and the Australian attack. Les Bleues gave Australia no shortage of chances to find a goal in the second half, but the match remained scoreless through regulation, and the match went to extra time.

Extra time had chances coming from both sides, with France having more dangerous chances. Regardless, both defenses held strong and extra time ended still scoreless. Australia’s Steph Catley likely saved the Matildas’ World Cup hopes in the 110th minute with this sliding save.

— Taylor Vincent

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