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Hayley Raso Shines as Australia Triumphs Secures Spot in World Cup Last 16

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In a spectacular display of skill and determination, co-hosts Australia stormed into the last 16 of the Women’s World Cup with a resounding 4-0 triumph over Canada. The star of the night, Hayley Raso, shone brightly, scoring twice and leading her team to a statement victory that saw Canada’s dreams of progressing to the knockout round crushed.

Coming into the clash with their backs against the wall following a shocking 3-2 defeat against Nigeria, Australia knew that nothing short of a victory would secure their spot in the next round. The pressure was on, but they rose to the occasion in front of a roaring crowd of 27,706 at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.

The match began with a surge of energy from both sides, but it was Real Madrid’s Hayley Raso who made the early breakthrough, slotting the ball low into the corner in the ninth minute after a brilliant assist from captain Steph Catley.

Just before the halftime whistle, Australia thought they had a second goal when Mary Fowler found the back of the net. However, the goal was controversially disallowed after a VAR review showed that Ellie Carpenter was marginally offside. Undeterred, the Australian team bounced back immediately, and Raso ensured they doubled their advantage with a close-range tap-in.

The Canadian side made four changes at halftime in a bid to turn the tide, but the Aussie dominance continued. Mary Fowler sealed the deal in the 58th minute, capitalizing on Caitlin Foord’s precise pass and skillfully finding the back of the net.

In the dying moments of the game, Australia was awarded a penalty after a foul by Jessie Fleming, and Steph Catley confidently converted the spot-kick, sealing the emphatic 4-0 victory.

The win propelled Australia to the top of Group B, ahead of Nigeria, who drew 0-0 with Ireland in Brisbane. As a result, the co-hosts are now set for a thrilling encounter against the second-placed team in Group D in the last 16 stage, likely Denmark or China.

While Australia celebrated their remarkable victory and a spot in the knockout phase, the match marked the end of the road for Canada. Despite their efforts, they fell short of progressing to the next stage and will now head home with their heads held high.

Before the match, there was much speculation about the availability of Australia’s star player, Sam Kerr, who missed the opening two games due to a calf injury. Although she was on the bench, Kerr was not risked as her teammates delivered an exceptional performance.

The impressive return of Manchester City’s Mary Fowler, who replaced Kerr in the previous win against Ireland but missed the Nigeria game due to a concussion, further boosted the Australian side.

With their spirits soaring and momentum on their side, Australia’s journey in the Women’s World Cup continues, and they will undoubtedly be a team to watch as they progress to the knockout stage. Hayley Raso’s standout performance and the team’s determination have set the stage for an exhilarating tournament ahead.

 

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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