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Simon double fires Australia into quarter-finals

06 Jul 2011 19:30:11

Simon double fires Australia into quarter-finals

A Kyah Simon double fired Australia into the quarter-finals of the Women's World Cup here on Wednesday with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Norway in their final Group D game.

Elise Thorsnes opened for 1995 winners Norway after 56 minutes but a minute later Simon grabbed the equaliser with the 20-year-old Sydney FC forward sealing victory with a header three minutes from time.

"There was a lot of courage and commitment shown out there," said Australia coach Tom Sermanni.

"We knew it would be difficult, Norway have a really robust style of play, but we rearranged the formation (after the break) to give us a bit more balance and the game opened up a bit."

Simon added: "It was great to get two in the one game. It's been a long time coming and it's great for my confidence."

The Matildas go through to the last eight with already-qualified Brazil from Group D and they next play either the United States or Sweden from Group C for a place in the semi-finals.

Norway are eliminated from the tournament after suffering their first loss to Asian champions Australia in five meetings.

Simon was back in the Australian line-up after being rested against Equatorial Guinea along with 16-year-old striker Caitlin Foord and goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri.

Clare Polkinghorne got her first full start with Emily Van Egmond starting on the bench after playing the first two games.

Both sides failed to make an impact in a lacklustre first half with Norwegian striker Cecilie Pedersen's first effort on 15 minutes going over the bar.

Play was held up for several minutes when Scandinavian goalie Ingrid Hjelmseth hurt herself as she jumped to catch a cross on front of goal on 28 minutes.

But when the game resumed Thorsnes pushed forward with two efforts on 33 and 37 minutes which were held by Barbieri.

Lisa De Vanna had Australia's best shot of the first half on 40 minutes but Hjelmseth held firm.

The breakthrough came after 56 minutes when Thorsnes grabbed the first goal as Barbieri rushed out to pick up retrieve the ball only to stumble and allow the Norway striker to race past and slam into an unguarded goal.

Not to be outdone the Matildas hit back straight away, racing towards the Norwegian goal with De Vanna crossing to Simon who coolly tapped into the net for the equaliser.

Simon, 20, missed the chance for a double after 70 minutes when she hit just wide, as a Trine Ronning header for Norway hit the netting six minutes later.

A free-kick from defender Ronning six minutes from time came dangerously close but bounced off the post.

But Simon put the result beyond a doubt three minutes when she picked up another De Vanna cross to head into goal.

Australia finish second in Group D behind Brazil.


AFP

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