Australia vs Brazil: Australia and Brazil had polar opposite beginnings to the their 2019 World Cup. The Matilda’s suffered a shocking stoppage time defeat at the hands of the Italians 2-1 and Brazil made light work of Jamaica, claiming a 3-0 win in their first group stage match.
Though 34-year-old Cristiane is fresh off becoming the oldest player to net a hat trick at a World Cup, her Brazilians have struggled mightily against the Aussies of late, dropping their last four matches, including a 6-1 thrashing at the 2017 Tournament of Nations.
As for Australia, they will need to have someone outside of Sam Kerr make things happen against Brazil. Her strike on Sunday took her tally to 32 goals in 78 appearances for the Matilda’s but stood as Australia’s lone goal.
If the 25-year-old superstar is forced to do it on her own again, it could spell doom for FIFA’s No.6 ranked national team. t remains to be seen if Marta will be cleared to feature off the bench in this one as the six-time FIFA Player of the Year missed Brazil’s clash against Jamaica with a hamstring injury.
Just two games are on the schedule today, as Group B’s second set of games comes to a close, while Group C’s just begins. The early game easily looks to be the best of the pair, as group leaders Brazil square off against surprise third place team Australia.
Australia must still be feeling the shock of their come-from-ahead, stoppage time loss to Italy. The Matildas looked extremely vulnerable in the back, especially down the center, and Italy managed to exploit the vulnerability at the perfect time. I wonder whether Sam Kerr feels the need to carry this team, because unless the defense shores up, she’ll have to.
Brazil looked very good against an admittedly overmatched Jamaica, but they did it without Marta. It’s unclear right now whether Marta will play at all, though she may not have to if Cristiane keeps scoring hat tricks.
Australia’s loss may serve as a wake up call of sorts. There were lofty expectations for them coming into this tournament, and if that at all went to their heads, the match against Italy would have served as a reality check. I haven’t fully bought into Brazil, but I’m also worried about Australia. I see a draw in this one.
Yesterday’s win by Germany over Spain means that if South Africa loses to China in the late kickoff, they could finish no better than third, and they’d have to beat Germany in their last match to have a chance at that. China can lose this game and still be in alright shape, as they would face an underwhelming Spain in their final match, and three points at that point could be enough to finish second, pending goal differential.
The odds are strongly with China here, as they acquitted themselves reasonably well in their 1-0 tournament-opening loss to Germany, and South Africa, while perhaps unfortunate to give up two penalties in losing to Spain, did not look particularly convincing. I’ll be surprised if China don’t earn all three points here, but this tournament has already been quite surprising.