Brazil and Australia through to World Cup knockouts - GulfToday

Brazil and Australia through to World Cup knockouts

Women Soccer

Brazil’s Marta (right) celebrates with team-mate Thaisa after scoring against Italy during their Women’s World Cup Group C match in Valenciennes on Tuesday. Associated Press

Valenciennes: Marta said she was representing women in football after becoming the leading scorer in the history of the men’s and women’s World Cups on Tuesday by firing home the penalty that downed Italy and secured Brazil’s place in the last 16 of this year’s tournament in France.

The 33-year-old, widely considered the best player in the history of the women’s game, slammed home from the spot in the 74th minute against Group C winners Italy to secure qualification and take her World Cup tally to 17 after Debinha was bundled over by Elena Linari.

That puts her one ahead of former Bayern Munich and Lazio striker Miroslav Klose in the all-time rankings, and the veteran attacker said the goal was more than just a personal triumph.

Marta’s record-breaking spot-kick wasn’t enough to secure second place in the group however, as Sam Kerr’s incredible four-goal haul in Australia’s 4-1 hammering of Jamaica saw the Matildas leapfrog Brazil on goals scored as three sides finished on six points. It means they could face either France or Germany in the next round, a tough test for a team that has at times spluttered in the group stage.

The Aussies will play Norway in Nice in the next round on Saturday after they made sure of qualification on Monday with a scrappy 2-1 win over eliminated South Korea that came thanks to two penalties. Having lost their opening match with Italy they looked dead and buried as they headed towards half-time against Brazil two goals down, but clawed back to win 3-2 before comfortably seeing off the Jamaicans, who finish the group stage with no points to their name despite Havana Solaun scoring the Reggae Girlz’ first ever World Cup goal four minutes after the break.

Kerr became the first Australian woman to score a World Cup hat-trick when she tapped home in th 69th minute following two first half headers, and her fourth was the goal that secured second spot.

Agence France-Presse