Matildas rally as thread of negativity fails to unravel Women’s World Cup hopes | Richard Parkin


This post is by Richard Parkin in Montpellier from Football | The Guardian


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Support for coach Ante Milicic from his players has been clear amid some disproportionate criticism

“That was unbelievable. I think that’s one of the most exciting games I’ve ever played in. It was a game that’s had absolutely everything – from controversial decisions, VAR decisions, to a comeback victory – I mean what else can you ask for?”

As Elise Kellond-Knight succinctly captured, more than any game so far at the France 2019 World Cup, Australia’s remarkable 3-2 win over Brazil deserved to be acclaimed as a celebration of football.

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Sub-plots abound as Matildas gear up for defining game with Brazil | Richard Parkin


This post is by Richard Parkin in Montpellier from Football | The Guardian


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The overarching narrative of Australia’s Women’s World Cup campaign very much hinges on events in Montpellier

Alea iacta est. So the histories report Caesar uttered as he crossed the Rubicon, risking all on the hopes of a dream. After days of furore following Australia’s shock loss to a vastly improved Italy – and the acrimony of a reheated saga from months past – suddenly for the Matildas in France the stakes have never been higher.

In his pre-match presser the usually softly-spoken Ante Milicic bared his teeth. Two seemingly inoffensive questions received short shrift. The issue was not the enquiries themselves, but the perceived underlying agenda from certain media outlets. The coach felt his players had been unfairly treated and the wagons were circled.

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Matildas’ rivalry with Brazil resurfaces with all still to play for | Richard Parkin


This post is by Richard Parkin in Montpellier from Football | The Guardian


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As deflating as the Italy defeat was, a win over familiar foes could yet see the Australians top group C

It’s as fierce a rivalry as any in women’s football: Australia v Brazil. In 2016 hosts Brazil knocked the Matildas out of the Olympics via the penalty spot; in Canada the year before, Kyah Simon’s 80th-minute winner ended As Canarinhas’ World Cup in the round of 16. In 2011 the two sides faced off in Monchengladbach in the group stage with Brazil emerging narrow winners, while Australia’s 2007 World Cup came to an abrupt halt at the quarter-final stage courtesy a 3-2 loss.

And if that feels like ancient history, four of the five goalscorers that day – Formiga, Marta, Lisa De Vanna and Cristiane – are all at this World Cup. With 619 caps between them, they are champions of the game – with tremendous experience, and even longer Continue reading “Matildas’ rivalry with Brazil resurfaces with all still to play for | Richard Parkin”