JUST IN: Australia defeat France to reach Women’s World Cup semi-finals
Australia defeat France 7-6 in an epic penalty shootout at the end of a tense and goalless Women’s World Cup quarter-final.
Cortnee Vine scored the decisive spot kick, after Mackenzie Arnold had saved multiple French efforts but also missed when she herself had the chance to win it.
Australia are into the semi-finals for the first time and will play either England or Colombia next.
France had started the match strongly through Kadidiatou Diani, who drilled a shot wide when had she gone down, Alanna Kennedy perhaps would have been facing a red card.
Maelle Lakrar stabbed over from inside the six-yard box when it looked easier to score, but Australia did end the first half better and it required a great Elisa De Almeida block to stop Mary Fowler opening the scoring.
Sam Kerr’s arrival as a 55th-minute substitute woke up the 49,000 spectators in attendance in Brisbane. It was Fowler again who had Australia’s best chance soon after, but she shot straight at Pauline Peyraud-Magnin.
A Kennedy own goal, correctly ruled out for a shirt pull off the ball, was the closest France game to winning the match.
Extra time was need with neither side able to break the deadlock, and in due course penalties.
Vine had Australia’s best chance of extra time, diverting a cross into the side netting, while France’s lone replacement, Vicki Becho twice tested Arnold.