AUSTRALIA has deservedly booked a date with Brazil in the knockout stage of the FIFA women’s World Cup after a 1-1 draw with Sweden at Commonwealth Stadium.
The Matildas will shift camp and head to Moncton – a town of around 100,000 people on Canada’s far eastern coast – for the round of 16 clash on Sunday.
Australia finished second in Group D with four points behind the US.
Sweden will learn on Thursday (EST) if they progress by being among the best third-placed finishers.
Matildas’ skipper Lisa de Vanna got Australia off to a perfect start after just five minutes, scoring her second goal of the tournament when she latched onto a 40m pass from stopper Laura Alleway.
She raced past Sweden’s twin stoppers before slotting the ball home.
The goal was de Vanna’s seventh at the World Cup in 11 appearances.
Australia was well on top for the first 15 minutes.
But Sweden’s Sofia Jakobsson made Australia pay dearly for turning the ball over in midfield in the 15th minute.
The right winger received the ball, turned inside before firing a 15m shot that zipped past Lydia Williams diving at full stretch.
Illestedt’s header flashed just wide of the upright from a corner in the 19th minute before Williams made a brilliant save from a Caroline Seger 20m shot five minutes later.
Jakobsson forced another save from Williams in the 26th minute before Australia again settled and started earning some worthwhile possession.
Kyan Simon – Australia’s two-goal hero from the win over Nigeria last Saturday – had claims for a penalty in the 32nd minute when her run inside the box appeared to be obstructed but Mexican referee Lucila Venegas didn’t flinch.
Both sides entered the dressing rooms at halftime knowing the US was still topping the group after Abby Wambach scored in the first half in the clash against Nigeria to give the two-time World Cup champion a 1-0 lead.
Sam Kerr was the first to liven up the second half when she ran past two Swedish defenders but her left foot shot didn’t have enough power to trouble the Swedes.
De Vanna ended her shift in the 62nd minute and handed the captain’s armband to Emily van Egmond as Larissa Crummer made her World Cup debut.