Matildas fade in World Cup opener against USA
THE Matildas face a must-win game against Nigeria this Saturday morning (AEST) in the women's World Cup in Canada, after succumbing to the second-ranked USA 3-1 at a packed Winnipeg Stadium.
The 10th-ranked Aussies showed great heart in the first half to be locked at 1-all in front of a predominantly US crowd.
Playing her 100th international, captain Lisa De Vanna levelled the scores in the 27th minute after the US's Megan Rapinoe scored the first of her two, from outside the penalty box which took a deflection and went in.
But yesterday's match opened up in the second stanza, thanks to more Rapinoe brilliance and the safe hands and class of US goalkeeper Hope Solo.
Sydney Leroux burned the Matildas' defence down the left flank, squaring a cross for a Christen Press goal in the 61st minute, before Rapinoe put the icing on the cake in the 78th.
De Vanna was shattered with the result, but the belief is still there for her team.
"The first 45 minutes of the game, we played really well - that's what we've been practising for the last four months," she said.
"The outcome was disappointing but we've still got two games to get back in it."
It's now 25 games without a win for the Matildas over the US.
Fellow Group D teams Nigeria and Sweden played out a 3-all draw, after Sweden led 2-0 at halftime.
USA 3 (Rapinoe 12, 78, Press 61) Australia 1 (De Vanna 27) at Winnipeg Stadium.