The Australian Matildas to the semifinals after ousting France on penalties

The Australian Matildas have managed to defeat France after a penalty shootout to qualify to the FIFA Women Soccer World Cup’s semifinals.  The original time and extra time finished 0-0. The Matildas won the tense penalty shootout (7-6), which became the longest in World Cup history.

This World Cup had already achieved so much for football in Australia, but that moment will now go down in the long list of sporting greatness in this country.

There was little separating the two teams who were still deadlocked after 120 minutes of play, with neither team able to convert their chances to hit the front.

Caitlin Foord made no mistake from the spot at the Women’s World Cup, Mackenzie Arnold saved one, Steph Catley missed one, Sam Kerr buried another to make it even again.

Then Eugenie Le Sommer scored France’s fourth. The youngest player on the Matildas squad, Mary Fowler, was given the baton next and calmly converted.

But Eve Perriset missed, and then Arnold missed her chance – hitting the post – to put Australia into the semi-finals.

Then it was one-for-one until Kenza Dali missed her first, and then her retake. Then Clare Hunt missed and Vicki Becho.

After 10 shots each, it all came down to Cortnee Vine’s kick from the spot and she made no mistake to send France home and the Matildas into the semi-finals for the first time.

For the third World Cup in a row France depart at the quarter-final stage. Les Bleues enjoyed the better of the 120-minutes, especially the first half, then towards the end of extra time, but they failed to find a way beyond Mackenzie Arnold.