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Women's World Cup: Matildas beaten by US but still a qualifying hope says Australia coach Alen Stajcic


Matildas coach Alen Stajcic says Australia can still qualify out of their group despite a 3-1 first-up Women's World Cup loss to the United States.

Megan Rapinoe's double and a second-half Christen Press goal gave the tournament favourites victory over the Matildas in Winnipeg on Tuesday morning (AEST).
But the scoreline did not tell the full story with Australian captain Lisa De Vanna's goal to equalise in her 100th international showing the Matildas could still contend in Canada.
De Vanna capped fine lead-up work by Caitlin Foord, Sam Kerr and Michelle Heyman to lash home at the near post and score at her third World Cup.
Australia could have added to De Vanna's strike and led into the break but for inspirational work by US goalkeeper Hope Solo.
Solo pushed Emily van Egmond's drive onto the bar and made a fine reflex stop from Sam Kerr's volley to keep the Matildas at bay.
Stajcic lamented the Americans' ability to take their chances and the three points from their Cup opener.
"A couple of bits of class from the Americans proved the difference," he said.
"When we had our four or five chances in the first half an hour we didn't take them and Hope Solo pulled off a couple of good saves to keep them in the game."
Rapinoe's opening goal took a fortunate deflection off Laura Alleway's knee.
Two second-half US breakaway goals proved the difference but Stajcic refused to consider his team unlucky.
"You make your own luck when you're a good team," he said.
"We pulled up short today but we'll win many more games if we play like that."
Lisa De Vanna scores against US Photo: The Matildas' Lisa De Vanna (centre) celebrates her first-half goal with team-mates Katrina Gorry (left) and Michelle Heyman. (Getty Images: Kevin C.Cox)

Polkinghorne and Williams miss first game

Australia's trouble began before kick-off, with Stajcic forced into a major reshuffle with the withdrawals of co-captain Clare Polkinghorne (hamstring) and first-choice goalkeeper Lydia Williams (thigh).
Their fitness will be assessed before Saturday morning's (AEST) match with Nigeria.
Stajcic also revealed defender Alleway, who did a fine job keeping US striker Abby Wambach quiet, played through a hip injury.
"A couple of them walked on wounded through the second half, that's the sort of spirit you play with when you're at a World Cup," he said.
"We've got 23 strong players here so we'll see how everyone pulls up tomorrow."
US player Megan Rapinoe gives her side the lead against Australia in the Women's World Cup. Photo: Megan Rapinoe was the match-winner, scoring the first and last goals in the US's 3-1 win over the Matildas in Winnipeg. (Getty Images: Kevin C. Cox)

"We've got a tough battle against Nigeria who I thought were exceptional. No-one's won or lost the World Cup after round one."
Australia will need at least a point against the African champions to control their World Cup destiny.
The Matildas sit last in the group after Nigeria came from 2-0 and 3-2 down to snatch a 3-3 draw with Sweden in Group D's earlier game.
The top two teams from each of six groups progress to the Round of 16 along with the four best third-placed sides.

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