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Cup shock: Italy pull off upset victory over Australia

Macquarie Sports Radio News

The Matildas have suffered a shock 2-1 loss to Italy in their opening game of the World Cup in Valenciennes, France.

Australia went down in the dying minutes of injury time as Italian midfielder Bonansea headed home her second goal of the game to give Italy their dream start to the tournament, and the Matildas plenty to think about.

The Aussies dominated most of the play controlling 64 per cent of the possession and getting away 16 shots to Italy’s 6.

However, it was their defensive frailties that once again proved their downfall, gifting Italy their first goal through a careless error and getting lucky thanks to some close offside calls and the VAR.

The Matildas started the game strongly but it was the Italians that had a goal to Bonansea in the 10th minute overturned by a very tight VAR offside ruling.

Sam Kerr then opened her account for the World Cup after earning a penalty and converting it herself on the follow up after goalkeeper Giuliani saved her initial shot.

Italy appeared shaken after the goal with the Matildas pressing their defence well and creating chances, hitting the crossbar soon after.

Australia started the second half strong but it was Italy who hit back in the 56th minute, courtesy of a defensive error by Clare Polkinghorne. Her loose touch gifted Bonansea possession in a dangerous area. The Italian winger had looked their most dangerous all game and she made no mistake cooly slotting home Italy’s equaliser.

Both teams continued to press and create chances with Italy hitting the post and having another goal ruled out for offside in the 81st minute.

In the end, it was a lack of discipline from the Matildas that gifted Italy a free kick in a dangerous area. Indecision from goalkeeper Lydia Williams under the ensuing cross then allowed Italy to head home their winner in the 95th minute.

Plenty were left questioning coach Ante Milicic’s team selection, tactics and substitutions as the Matilda’s have now conceded 10 goals in their last 3 games.

Macquarie Sports Radio News