Barbara Bonansea headed in a corner five minutes after the break – her second goal in the match – scoring Sunday's 2-1 win over Valenciennes against Australia.
It was a triumphant return to the World Cup for Italy, a power in men's football that appeared for the first time since 1999 at the Women's World Cup.
Bonansea, a 27-year-old who also drives the attack on her Italian side Juventus, also scored her first goal when defeating Australian defender Clare Polkinghorne in the 56th minute. She scored the winning goal by overtaking Australian striker Sam Kerr for a corner on the back post after a corner in the last second.
Kerr, the 25-year-old forward leading the Australian attack, gave her country an early lead when she won a penalty after being knocked down by Italian center-back Sara Gama. Kerr's first shot from the spot was saved, but the rebound came right back to her and she slammed him. It was her very first World Cup goal in three games of the tournament.
[Interactive:TheAustralianSamKerr can not stop scoring . Brazil and Jamaica met later this Sunday and Australia still have to play both in the first round. His next test – against Brazil on Thursday in Montpellier – could be even more difficult.
Italy celebrates after the final whistle; Australia is depressed.
The Matildas do not seem to believe what happened to them, but that was not a good performance: sloppy, shaky, and they let Sam Kerr, their top scorer, get out of the game second half. And then they were punished.
90 + 5 '
GOOOOOOOOOOAL !!! ITALY HAS IT WINNED !!
Italy does it! Giacinti, the defender's striker, wins one last corner and she throws a ball at Bonansea at the back post – and she scores!
Bonansea rose above Kerr to win the ball – and drives him into the penalty area floor and into the net. What a stunning result.
90 + 1 & # 39;
Gama stops Kerr, but Australia is really pushing for Italy now.
Kerr does everything to find a winner: flanks, one shot blocked by Gama at the last moment. She even flopped once to get a penalty. It really feels like an Australian goal is coming. But there is no guarantee that Italy will give in and the pressure of the Matildas makes them vulnerable to a brand if the Italians have one in them.
Gooo – Nee. Italy has barred a second goal.
Sabatino, the substitute striker, has just picked up a rebound from the post and hit the ball under Williams to score the apparent start goal.
But the linewoman's flag goes up almost immediately and VAR confirms quickly. This is the second goal in Italy that was wiped out today by a side-off flag.
Italy now wants to give in: a striker for a defender.
Valentina Giacinti, a striker, has replaced Berndeschi, Italy's right-back. That is a true statement from coach Milena Bertolini: she does not settle for a draw, which would be a good result for the Italians. She will push for victory.
But this attitude, welcomed by an Italian coach, carries its own risks. Kerr has been quiet lately. But she will not be forever, right?
Another long V.A.R. Delay for a possible Australian handball.
The last interruption – to see if a ball that hit substitute Lisa De Vanna in the Australian penalty was "a clear and obvious mistake". The V.A.R. The referee and the referee have determined that it was not intentional, and the game continues. But that's the second or third long VAR. Delay today. Every call has proved to be correct, but it is also a sign that the referees, many of whom have not used the system in big matches, still solve the problems.
Delays are the biggest criticism of V.A.R. – that it ruins the flow of games. But players and coaches alike were pushing for the World Cup and seem confident that proper calls are worth growing.
De Vanna comes for Australia
Moments after the goal, Lisa De Vanna – Australia's championship leader – joins Logarzo on the left side of midfield. She is a nice luxury for Milicic from the bench, but with the lead gone, he needs her spark – she has met in the last three World Cups – and Australia has to face Kerr in the middle again.
56 & # 39;
GOAL BONANSEA! And we are bound!
Barbara Bonansea has associated things with a bit of opportunism. Clare Polkinghorne senses that the Australian central defender has a relaxed mood. She reaches for Clare Polkinghorne, takes her ball in a dead area on the right side and attacks Williams freely. Cutting to the left, she lost the grip on her shot, but still pushed him into the right corner to tie the goal.
We talked about how the center looked soft; Bonansea just got a punch on the belly.
Italy make a mid-term change to spark its midfield.
Elisa Bartoli, captain of Roma, joins Aurora Galli. Italy really needs to start offering Bonansea a better service or at least a more consistent time on the ball. The best things she has done so far have involved her.
Australia 1, Italy 0 in the break.
Australia lead on Kerr's penalty, which was quite won and cool after a first parade for the first World Cup goal of his career. But the game was over – Italy had a (correct) offside goal and sent some sounding balls into the middle of the Australian defense. In this half, Australia will feel comfortable, knowing that it should have had more than one, and it will continue to accelerate to reach another destination.
Central defense concerns for both teams.
Seconds after Australian Chloe Logarzo had an open header at Giuliani's penalty area, it should be noted that both teams have some problems in the middle. Italy keep trying to play direct balls in the middle for Girelli and Bonansea and it has worked a couple of times.
Meanwhile, Italy is losing more and more importance in the region. Not a good thing, if Sam Kerr lurks in there and Ellie Carpenter rages up the wing or bumps into the middle.
GOOOOAL !! Sam Kerrrr!
Australia leads 1-0 as Kerr comes to a halt and shoots to the left – her shot is saved by Giuliani! – and then jump on the rebound to end.
Believe it or not, Kerr's first goal on three World Cup trips. But she has a fan of former Australian star Tim Cahill. Game recognizes game .
PENALTY! Gama pulls Kerr down.
They are fighting in the area and Kerr goes down. Clear penalty. Gama had them with both hands when the ball arrived.
A hectic start has slowed down a bit.
Or maybe not. The first five minutes of this game were played as if the game was running fast. Kerr had two chances, Italy struck back. But Bonansea's goal and the delay seemed to have cooled things down a bit. But only a little.
Italy takes the lead! Oh, wait: OFFSIDE!
But no – Barbara Bonansea, who broke off from midfield stumbling, beats Williams, but is (correctly) offside. She was one step behind defense in midfield at the start of her run.
2 & # 39;
The first chances are in Australia, and one is almost an accidental goal.
A cross from the left is struck by the Italian goalkeeper – right in Kerr, and the rebound almost bounces off the net.
One minute later, Australia is back and feeds Kerr again in the middle. This time she is just over the bar. Not really a secret, what they are going to do today, but Italy should keep an eye on them.
The starting positions for Australia and Italy are out.
Australia: Williams; Carpenter, Polkinghorne, Kennedy, Catley; Foord, Logarzo, Van Egmond, Yallop, Raso; Kerr (c)
Italy: Giuliani; Guagni, Linari, Gama (c), Bergamashi; Giugiano; Galli, Gernoia; Bonansea; Mauro, Girelli
The strange hole in Sam Kerr's CV.
Sam Kerr may be the best women's goalkeeper at the moment, but there is still a place she has never scored: the World Cup.
The trip to France this summer is Kerr's third World Cup, but for a player with her skills and her record of 31 goals in 77 games since she debuted as a 15-year-old in the national team in 2009, the network is still almost astonishing to find one.
"Every time I enter the field, I want to score for my country, but at a World Cup, it would be a dream come true," Kerr said. "I did not do that, but I feel like another player at this World Cup, I feel like a different person, I feel more prepared, I know more about the game, I know more about my own game and I just feel smarter.
"Look, if I do not score and we win the World Cup, I'll be happy." It's not about me, this World Cup, it's about the team. "
Kerr's remarkable turf skills can be found in this interactive video compiled by our graphics team.
Australia, Italy and the "fear" factor that is not there.
Italy takes part in the World Cup for the third time but for the first time since 1999. It's the longest gap between a team's appearances in tournament history.
The rise of the team Maybe it took a while, but it w undeniable: The Italians only allowed four goals in European qualifying, and a backbone built around Sara Gama, the captain of Italy and Juventus, and some of her teammates offers both consistency and continuity.
Australia coach Ante Milicic praised the Italians this week in a way that seemed less playful and flattering than a real respect for Team Italy.
"They are one of the best-developed teams in women's football," he said. "Individually they are very strong, tactically very flexible, very strong in standard situations."
This commendation was news to Gama on Saturday when she was falsely informed by Italian journalists that Milicic said Australia "dreaded" the Azzurre.
"Really? Wow, "said Gama. "That means we worked long and hard. It is good to hear that the other national teams are starting to fear us. that is important to us. We were already aware of how we are growing and getting stronger, and now we were able to show it.
Her trainer, Milena Bertolini, took the praise less seriously.
"Australia should fear us. "She joked. "And that's good."
Australia alluded to the World Cup.
Alen Stajcic was the coach who led Australia through qualifying and the World Cup, but he will not be in the team bench on Sunday. The reasons continue to confuse those who follow the team.
The Australian Football Association dismissed Stajcic in January after two confidential team surveys concluded that the team was marked by a "culture of fear" . The decision bothered the World Cup preparations and even shocked some of the best Australian players.
Ante Milicic, a former assistant to the country's national men's team, took over after Stajcic's departure. In Australia, the change of coach and the lack of clarity about what was behind it continued to be criticized.
In this void and in a climate of allegations that men in football had abused their power over women, speculation and innuendo grew at a time when the Australian Football Association and one of its directors issued a separate show on May 31 Apologies to Stajcic confirm that he was not fired for misconduct.
"F.F.A. With this statement, I would like to make it clear that Alen Stajcic's contract was not terminated on the grounds that he violated his contract or committed a wrongdoing. Said. "Any conclusion that has been drawn that these are reasons for the termination of Alen is wrong."
It added, "FFA acknowledges that part of the speculation about the termination of Alen's contract was due to statements by one of its directors, Heather Reid."
Reid, who had said at the time of the coaching change If the truth came out Stajcic would "never again work in women's football," she said, apologizing "unconditionally" to the coach and his family.
"I understand that my behavior in public and private statements seriously undermines Mr. Stajcic's reputation Both in Australia and internationally, "said Reid.
About half of the questions at the Australian Prematch press conference on Saturday in Valenciennes raised the topic in one way or another. One referred to a long newspaper article published last week and detailed information on infighting and sexual policy in the F.F.A. that led to Stajcic's fall.
Kerr and Milicic, however, refused to deal with the subject.
"It's all outdoor noise for us, to be honest," Kerr said.