THE Matildas are the inaugural winners of the Tournament of Nations thanks to a superb 6-1 win over Brazil in Los Angeles.
Having beaten USA and Japan, Alen Stajcic’s side needed to just draw to ensure the silverware comes with them back to Australia.
They went better than that, putting on a show against the powerhouse of global football.
Bringing a trophy back home is a sign of Australia’s progress, and some sort of revenge against the side that conquered them in controversial circumstances at the Rio Olympics one year ago.
And they’ll get the chance to do it again when they square off against the Brazilians in two friendlies in Australia in September.
However, it was a horror start for the Australians. Skipper Elise Kellond-Knight conceded a free-kick in the opening seconds, before Camile slotted a shot through a packed goal mouth.
But after conceding a goal with just 68 seconds on the clock, the Matildas’ response was outstanding, particularly in an entertaining, end-to-end first-half where they blew the Brazilians off the park.
Lisa De Vanna showed great composure to slot home a finish on the rebound after an eighth minute penalty was saved by Brazil goalkeeper Dani Neuhaus, who was kept tremendously busy by the Australians’ high octane style of play. Sam Kerr had been dragged down just inside the box contesting an Emily van Egmond free-kick.
Then, it became the Kerr show.
The superstar surged down the right, and then the left, to tee up goals for Caitlin Foord, and then De Vanna again, who became the Matildas’ all time leading scorer with her 42nd strike.
Foord’s goal was particularly impressive, coming via three passes stemming from Mackenzie Arnold’s strong one-on-one save to thwart Bia Zaneratto, before Kerr was unleashed behind the defence by a pinpoint pass from van Egmond.
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But the first-half party was not done yet, with Katrina Gorry showing her immense class to slot a fourth with a shot drilled across the face of goal, a chance carved by lightning feet on the edge of the box by the 24-year-old star. Again, Kerr was involved, working tirelessly to keep a lost cause alive to keep the ball in play, before it was recycled to Gorry just outside the box.
The only downer from the first-half was an ankle injury to busy midfielder Chloe Logarzo.
Australia added another two goals in the second-half; although the end-to-end action was less frenetic, the Matildas did not relent with their defensive workrate, with the Brazilians unable to force their way back into the contest.
The icing on the cake came when Tameka Butt unleashed Foord with an incisive through ball to make it five, before Kerr, the best player in the tournament – if not on the planet at the moment – got a much deserved goal, her fourth of the tournament, to round out the rout.
Australia 6, Brazil 1?
It sounds unfamiliar in football terms, and it’s another display that will have the football world talking about the Matildas.