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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Australia Advances to Women’s World Cup Semifinals with Thrilling Penalty Shootout Win Over France

Australia’s Women’s World Cup journey took an exhilarating turn as they secured a spot in the semifinals for the first time, delighting a sold-out crowd in Brisbane with a dramatic penalty shootout victory against France.

Despite previously reaching the quarterfinals on three occasions, Australia had never progressed beyond the last eight. However, their fate changed on home soil as they triumphed in a nail-biting match that concluded with a remarkable penalty shootout.

In a mesmerizing showdown, it was Cortnee Vine who ultimately secured victory by scoring the 20th penalty, leading Australia to a 7-6 win in the shootout. This thrilling outcome sets up a semifinal clash against either England or Colombia.

France had a goal disallowed in extra time, adding to the intensity of the match. The deadlock persisted over 120 minutes, forcing the decision to be made through a penalty shootout.

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While both teams faltered from the penalty spot, France’s four missed penalties proved costly, allowing Vine to claim the winning shot. Nearly 50,000 jubilant fans celebrated alongside the Australian players, transforming the stadium into a scene of joyous revelry.

Australia’s head coach, Tony Gustavsson, expressed immense pride in his team’s performance and attributed their success to the unwavering support of the fans. He emphasized that the victory was a collective effort, extending gratitude to everyone in the country.

France’s defeat was a heartrending outcome for a team that displayed numerous opportunities to score throughout the match. Despite the pendulum-like momentum shifts between the teams, Vicki Bècho’s crucial miss became the turning point, leading to Australia’s triumph.

Mackenzie Arnold’s role in the shootout’s outcome was also noteworthy. After missing an opportunity to secure Australia’s advancement, Arnold rebounded by saving Kenza Dali’s penalty kick. Arnold’s resilience was particularly evident in the face of a retaken penalty, which she successfully thwarted.

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Reflecting on the spirited match, France’s head coach, Hervé Renard, acknowledged the difficulty in determining the more deserving team, given the back-and-forth nature of the game. He congratulated Australia on their victory and praised the exceptional efforts of both teams.

The thrilling encounter unfolded as an open and engaging contest. France initially exhibited dominance, showcasing potency in set pieces. As the match progressed, Australia grew in confidence, and the crowd’s fervor amplified within the stadium.

With France’s potent defense and Australia’s strategic introduction of superstar striker Sam Kerr, the match extended into extra time. Kerr’s impact was immediate, as her actions generated opportunities and intensified Australia’s attack.

Australia’s exhilarating victory has not only etched history but has also ignited fervor across the nation. The team’s remarkable journey is transforming the landscape of football within the country, eliciting nationwide enthusiasm and pride.

Source: CNN Sports

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