World Cup 2023 - Matildas march on after sending Olympic Champs packing
Australia marched into the Round of 16 with a massive 4-nil win over Canada on Match Day 12
A first-half brace by Hayley Raso and second-half contributions from Mary Fowler and Steph Catley helped the Matildas thrash the Olympic champions and set up a massive Round of 16 match next Monday at Stadium Australia. It was a blistering start as Australia troubled the Canadian defence from the get-go. Following a neat move down the left by Steph Catley, Raso opened the scoring just nine minutes in as she pounced on the loose ball and drilled it past Kailen Sheridan sending the 27,000-strong crowd into raptures. Australia was on their way to a second as Mary Fowler smashed the ball into the roof of the net, only for the goal to be disallowed for a controversial offside decision.
Australia's domination would be rewarded though as Raso tapped away her second following a corner amid more sloppy defending from the Canadians. Mary Fowler would eventually be rewarded for her efforts as Caitlin Foord beat the last defender down the left to cut the ball back into the path of Fowler for Australia's third. Stand-in skipper, Steph Catley rounded off the 4-nil win from the penalty spot to seal Australia's biggest ever World Cup win. The win sees Australia top Group B and march onto the Round of 16 where they'll take on the second placed team from Group D, likely to be Denmark or England. In the other match in Group B, Nigeria squeezed into the knockouts after playing out a nil-all results against the Republic of Ireland. Earlier in the day, Japan put their mark on the tournament with a four-nil thrashing of Spain to finish top of Group C. The 2011 World Champions got off to a smart start as Hinata Miyazawa opened the scoring on eleven minutes. Miyazawa then turned provider as she found Riko Ueki who's shot found a fortunate deflection to squeeze past Spanish keeper, Misa Rodriguez. Miyazawa then doubled her tally as she linked up with Ueki once more to go into the break 3-nil over the European giants. Japan added another in the second half as Mina Tanaka put the cherry on the cake and inflicted Spain its largest ever World Cup defeat.
It was all about pride in the other final Group C match as Zambia easily accounted for Costa Rica. Goals to Lushomo Mweemba, Barbra Banda and Rachael Kundananji sending the African debutants home on a high. Matchday 13 will see the final matches in Group E and Group D Group E's Netherlands will need to beat Vietnam to ensure they progress, while Portugal still hold the slimmest of chances as they take one the United States. In Group D, China will be hoping they can beat England, while Denmark will need a win and will rely on other results to qualify for the knockouts when they take on Haiti in Perth.