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Women's Football World Cup News
Australia 2 (Simon 57,87) Norway 1 (Thorsnes 56)
att: 18,474; at Leverkusen
Australia caused arguably the biggest surprise so far as they came from behind to beat Norway 2-1 and reach the quarter finals at the expense of the Scandinavians.
The Aussies went into the match needing a draw to secure their place in the last eight but it was Norway who made the stronger start and Cecilie Pedersen went close to giving them the lead as her strike was turned over the bar by Melissa Barbieri.
Elise Thorsnes was in sharp form up front for Norway and she forced Barbieri into a series of saves to keep her team on level terms. Australia had not shown much as an attacking force during the first half but they created their best opportunity just before the interval as Lisa De Vanna's 20-yard strike was saved by Ingrid Hjelmseth.
Norway were forced to replace Hjelmseth at half time due to an ankle injury with Erika Skarbo taking her place between the posts.
The pressure began to increase on the two teams after the break and it was a defensive blunder that gifted Norway the opening goal. A pass from Lene Mykjaland appeared to be harmless but two Australian defenders and Barbieri left the ball to each other and Thorsnes took full advantage to intercept before gleefully slamming it into the empty net.
One of the oldest cliches in football is that a team is never more vulnerable than when they have just scored and this proved to be correct as Norway lost concentation. De Vanna won the ball from Trine Ronning near the corner flag and cut the ball back for Kyah Simon to neatly finish with a stabbing right foot shot which found the net.
With Norway having to attack, the game swung from end to end and there were chances for both teams. Pedersen should have done better as she shot over the bar when Mykjaland was well placed to score whilst at the other end, the excellent De Vanna released Simon on goal but the striker dragged her shot wide.
A foul on Thorsnes earned Norway a free kick on the edge of the area and they were agonisingly close to a second goal as Ronning's well struck kick hit the underside of the bar before bouncing to safety.
Three minutes from time, Australia inflicted a huge blow as De Vanna laid the ball back to Kim Carroll on the right and her pinpoint cross was met by Simon who guided a downward header past Skarbo for her second goal.
There was still time for Isabell Herlovsen to go close at the other end as she lobbed her shot inches wide under pressure from Laura Alleway but the game was up for Norway who fail to reach the quarter final for the first time ever and now cannot qualify for the Olympics in London next year.
Australia: Melissa Barbieri, Samantha Kerr (sub Laura Alleway 80mins), Kim Carroll, Clare Polkinghorne, Servet Uzunlar, Collette McCallum, Heather Garriock, Elise Kellond-Knight, Caitlin Foord (sub Ellyse Perry 89mins), Kyah Simon, Lisa De Vanna.
Norway: Ingrid Hjelmseth (sub Erika Skarbo 45mins), Hedda Gardsjord, Maren Mjelde, Ingvild Stensland, Gry Tofte Ims (sub Isabell Herlovsen 81mins), Guro Knutsen Mienna, Trine Ronning, Lene Mykjaland, Elise Thorsnes, Cecilie Pedersen, Emilie Haavi (sub Kristine Wigdahl Hegland 45mins).
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