FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023: Co-hosts Australia defeated France 7-6 in a nail-biting penalty shootout and advanced to the semifinals

On a dramatic night in Brisbane on Saturday, co-hosts Australia defeated France 7-6 in a nail-biting penalty shootout to go to the Women’s World Cup semi-finals for the first time in their history.

Wednesday’s matchup between Australia and the victors of the final last-eight match between England and Colombia will take place in Sydney.

After a thrilling penalty shootout victory over France in their World Cup quarterfinal, Australia is in uncharted territory after making it to the semifinals for the first time ever.

Vicki Becho’s penalty smacked off the post, giving Cortnee Vine the chance to win the game after a close and tense 120-minute match in which the teams could not be divided. Each side had missed three penalties before Vicki Becho’s attempt.

And the native of Queensland succeeded in doing exactly that when she converted Australia’s seventh penalty kick to give them a 7-6 victory and send Brisbane Stadium and the entire nation of Australia into a frenzy.

Laelle Lakrar should have scored with a guilt-edged opportunity in the first 10 minutes as Australia struggled to get into the game due to a well-organized French defense. However, Australia finished the half strongly and had a golden opportunity of their own through Mary Fowler, but Elise de Almeida blocked the shot off the line.

FIFA Women's World Cup 2023: Co-hosts Australia defeated France in a dramatic penalty shootout and advanced to the semifinals

Sam Kerr’s entrance helped offer Fowler and Hayley Raso additional opportunities in the second half as Australia kept up their momentum, but the French defense stood firm.

The game eventually went into extra time, and as the two worn-out sides played on, penalties appeared to be the only alternative. France surged back into the game, and captain Wendie Renard had a goal disallowed after a foul in the buildup.

The penalty shootout was dramatic, with encroachments and a number of misses, but Vine maintained composure when Australia needed it most, continuing their remarkable World Cup run.

Will Australia suffer the consequences of the limited subs?

Although they got away with it against France this time, coach Tony Gustavsson‘s unwillingness to make changes could end up costing an Australia team that has rotated the least in the World Cup.

Sam Kerr’s return will certainly assist, but Gustavsson didn’t make a second substitution until 100 minutes had passed, even though Hayley Raso and Caitlin Foord had been on the pitch since the 80th minute and the midfield had started to play carelessly in possession.

It cost his team in their defeat to Nigeria, and as the game went on, France appeared to be playing with greater vigor since their team had been considerably more rotated—all 20 outfield players had played before tonight.

They are definitely progressing quickly thanks to the excitement and intensity of a home World Cup, but they are only human and may experience negative effects sooner rather than later.

History of penalty shootouts

FIFA Women's World Cup 2023: Co-hosts Australia defeated France in a dramatic penalty shootout and advanced to the semifinals

Even though the game was already heated, the shootout increased the drama by a startling seven penalties that both teams missed.

Steph Catley gave the lead to England after France first faltered, and after two outstanding saves from goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold, her penalty attempt bounced off the post.

Cortnee Vine would later have the opportunity to go down in history as Vicki Becho slammed her penalty against the post after Clare Hunt twice saved penalties from Dali.

And Vine displayed steely nerves in her own condition as she tucked it away and threw Australia into a trance.

The story of Australia goes on

Australia as a whole has been gripped by World Cup fever, with thousands of people watching live matches throughout the nation as the Matildas advanced to the quarterfinals in front of record television audiences and capacity crowds.

Due to the game’s immense popularity, the major Australian sporting codes moved kickoff timings and broadcast the game on large stadium screens for this match.

The excitement and drama of the game will leave many supporters with missing fingernails, but Australia’s magical run at the tournament has demonstrated the ability of football to unite the nation.

And it just gets greater from there, with a probable semifinal matchup versus England in Sydney, likely the largest football game ever.

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