Brazil implode & chaos reigns in thrilling Australia comeback

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A healthy half-time lead was turned on its head by three second-half strikes that left an experienced Brazil side stunned and the Matildas jubilant

Chaotic goals, desperate defending and controversial VAR calls - Australia's exhilarating 3-2 comeback win over Brazil on Wednesday evening had it all.

The Matildas' resurrection from being dead and buried in the Women's World Cup at 2-0 down wasn't without an enormous chunk of luck, though.

Chloe Logarzo’s cross flew all the way in and Monica headed into her own net in a strange VAR call after Caitlin Foord got Australia back into the game just before half-time.

Brazil had appeared to be in cruise control too, with goals from Marta and Cristiane put them comfortably ahead in the first half. But the former and 41-year-old Formiga, booked early on, were withdrawn at half-time and it would prove key.

Without those two leaders out there, Brazil capitulated, with the seemingly doomed Australia, who lost their opening game to Italy, taking full advantage.

If there was a feeling of desperation among the Matildas, it showed early on. An ambitious strike from Elise Kellond-Knight and a header from the edge of the box from Sam Kerr came among a handful of penalty appeals, all of which were waved away without a second thought.

They did create the first real chance of the game when Tameka Yallop nodded a cross down into Kerr’s path, but the bounce was unkind to the prolific forward, who came into the game fresh off the back of breaking her World Cup duck against Italy.

And then that sense of desperation reared its ugly head again, and in damning fashion. Kellond-Knight, filling in at left-back due to injuries, came in through the back of Brazil's Leticia Santos in the box and the referee had no doubts.

There were few doubts about it giving Brazil the lead too when their returning talisman Marta stepped up. Cool and composed, she fired it past Lydia Williams for her 16th World Cup goal – putting her level with Germany’s Miroslav Klose at the top of the all-time scoring charts.

Brazil Australia Women's World Cup

It didn’t take long for Brazil to double that lead, with Cristiane continuing her fine goalscoring form after bagging a hat-trick against Jamaica. Tamires’ brilliant nutmeg on Emily Gielnik and even better pass through the channel to Debinha started the move, before the forward whipped in a great cross which Cristiane headed home after out-jumping Steph Catley.

But just as the Matildas appeared to be on the brink, they were suddenly back into the game. Yallop sent a teasing ball into the box in first half stoppage time and Monica was in complete disarray as Logarzo flicked the ball on for Foord to stab home at the far post.

Brazil had a fantastic chance to regain their two-goal cushion just after the restart, with Cristiane and Debinha making fools of their markers before the latter chose to shoot instead of picking out the unmarked Andressa Alves, but their wastefulness would come back to bite them.

Australia, channelling their desperation through some great high-pressing now, won the ball back in Brazil’s defensive third and were rewarded for their hard work when Logarzo watched her cross run all the way into the bottom corner untouched.

If they were warranted further luck, they certainly got it. In what was probably the most decisive VAR call so far, Australia were the ones to benefit as Kerr’s interference from an offside position was not enough for the referee to disallow Monica’s own goal, as she headed a long hopeful ball up to the forward past Barbara.

Brazil Australia Women's World Cup

If Brazil had been missing Marta and Formiga in this second half, they missed them even more so when they fell behind. Two vastly experienced and talented players were not there to lift their visibly dejected team-mates, who struggled to compose themselves and get back into the game.

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After Vadao’s side came into the World Cup under heavy fire from the Brazilian press, they will no doubt find themselves back under it now, with them now having just one win in their last 11 games.

Australia, on the other hand, showed the character they lacked in that opening match.

However, Italy are the real winners of this result, with a result over Jamaica tomorrow putting them in pole position to finish first – while Brazil and Australia scrap over second and third, and a place in the top-heavy side of this World Cup draw.   

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