Australia 2-0 Denmark: Caitlin Foord and Hayley Raso hit for the hosts to send Tony Gustavsson’s side through to the World Cup quarter-final, while Sam Kerr comes off the bench for her first appearance at the tournament
- Caitlin Foord hit on the counter-attack to put Australia ahead within 30 minutes
- Twenty minutes from time, Hayley Raso doubled the advantage for the hosts
- Sam Kerr came off the bench with just over ten minutes of normal time left
The Matildas have charged into the Women’s World Cup quarter-finals and welcomed back Sam Kerr in style with an imperious 2-0 win over Denmark.
Caitlin Foord’s goal in the 29th minute, brilliantly teed up by Mary Fowler, sent the Matildas on their way before Hayley Raso added a second in the 70th minute in front of 75,784 screaming fans at Sydney’s Stadium Australia.
After originally being named on the bench as coach Tony Gustavsson stuck with an unchanged starting line-up, Kerr entered the field to a standing ovation in the 80th minute.
They were her first minutes of the tournament, after overcoming a calf injury suffered on the eve of Australia’s opening game.
Australia will next play either France or Morocco, who face off in Adelaide on Tuesday night, at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on Saturday evening.
Caitlin Foord opened the scoring after 29 minutes from a smart counter-attacking move
Hayley Raso doubled Australia’s advantage with just over 20 minutes remaining in Sydney
Sam Kerr came off the bench for the final ten minutes after missing the group stage with injury
It is just their second time in the final eight of the World Cup, after previously reaching the marker in Canada in 2015.
The magnificent Foord gave Denmark right-back Janni Thomsen nightmares all night while Fowler’s sublime passing range unlocked both goals.
Centre-back Alanna Kennedy was dominant in the air and consistently thwarted Danish attacks as the Matildas sealed a professional victory.
The Australians looked nervous early and were given some troubles by a determined Danish outfit.
Mackenzie Arnold was forced into a low but comfortable save by Katrine Veje in the opening minute.
Danish star Pernille Harder caused headaches and spurned chances after superb bursting runs in the 10th and 17th minutes.
Stand-in skipper Steph Catley went down and received treatment on her lower leg in the 18th minute.
The break gave the Matildas the breathing room they needed.
Nine minutes later, Australia took the lead.
Fowler cut past a defender in midfield, then neatly turned on the ball and switched onto her left foot, before launching a precise ball into the path of a charging Foord out wide.
Foord took a touch, steadied then buried a cool shot through goalkeeper Lene Christensen’s legs before wheeling away to her home crowd, cupping her ear in celebration.
Australia never looked challenged from there and earned a deserved second goal after Fowler whipped a ball into Kyra Cooney-Cross on the left wing, then burst forward to receive it back.
Fowler slipped through to Emily van Egmond, who had the presence of mind to knock it back for Raso to drive home her third goal of the tournament..
Kerr warmed up for a large chunk of the second half, to the crowd’s delight.
When she entered the fray with 10 minutes of regular time remaining, the skipper sent the crowd into raptures.
She had them on their feet when she burst forward and shot off target in the 87th minute, in an exciting sign of things yet to come.
There was a heart-in-mouth moment late when Kerr went down, but she recovered and played out the game.
Raso doubled Australia’s advantage with 20 minutes remaining with a close-range strike made possible by Emily van Egmond.
It allowed there to be minimal risk involved when star striker Kerr came off the bench a little under ten minutes later.
The result meant Denmark’s first World Cup campaign since 2007 ended at the last-16.
Australia progress to the quarter-final stage on Saturday in Brisbane, where they will face the winner of Tuesday’s clash between France and Morocco. They have reached the last eight at three previous World Cups, but never gone further.
Australia: Arnold, Carpenter, Hunt, Kennedy, Catley, Raso (Kerr 80′), Gorry, Cooney-Cross, Foord (Yallop 90+5′), Van Egmond (Vine 80′), Fowler (Polkinghorne 90+1′).
Subs: Williams, Nevin, Luik, Vine, Wheeler, Chidiac, Simon, Grant, Micah.
Goals: Foord 29′, Raso 70′
Denmark: Christensen, Sevecke (Bruun 63′), Ballisager, Boye Sorensen, Veje, Thomsen, Kuhl (Hasbo 73′), Holmgaard (Troelsgaard Nielsen 82′), Madsen (Gejl 63′), Vangsgaard (Snerle 82′), Mosegaard-Harder.
Subs: Larsen, Thrige, Sorensen, Thogersen, Gevitz, Svava, Bay.
Referee: Rebecca Welch (England)