Last four beckons as Matildas prevail on penalties

Australia are through to the last four after edging an impossibly dramatic shootout with France in Brisbane.


Australia 0-0 France (7-6 PSO) | Quarter-finals

Australia are through to the semi-finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ after Courtney Vine scored the decisive penalty in heart-stopping shootout in Brisbane.

The Matildas can now look forward to a semi-final against England or Colombia – taking them into new territory for any Aussie team, male or female – after this most tense and hard-earned of triumphs.

Though they were second-best for the bulk of the match, France began brightly, and should have moved in front inside 13 minutes. Scoring from inside the six-yard box certainly looked the easier task for Maelle Lakrar, but the Montpellier defender instead managed the seemingly impossible, scooping the ball over from the closest of ranges.


Les Bleues would go on to enjoy a miraculous escape of their own late in the first half when Mary Fowler fired towards an apparently open goal with goalkeeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin stranded and out of position. Elisa de Almeida came to the rescue, though, with a magnificent and near-miraculous goal-line clearance, diverting the ball behind for a corner.

Fowler was excellent throughout but had a luckless night in front of goal, with Peyraud-Magnin producing a couple of smart stops to keep the youngster out. Australia turned to Sam Kerr for attacking answers ten minutes into the second half and the Matildas skipper nearly made an immediate impact, setting up Hayley Raso for a curling left-foot shot that the France keeper once again proved equal to.

If these missed chances were frustrating for the boisterous Brisbane crowd, extra time looked set to break hearts when Alanna Kennedy headed a corner into her own net. French celebrations were quickly curtailed, however, with referee Maria Carvajal whistling immediately, having spotted a Wendie Renard shirt-tug while the ball was in the air.


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A wonder-save from Mackenzie Arnold to deny Vicki Becho only increased the sense that penalties would be the only way to solve the impasse and, sure enough, a shootout arrived to test everyone’s nerves.

Herve Renard had introduced Solene Durand seconds beforehand and the substitute keeper, making her first competitive start, did step up with impressive saves from Steph Catley and Clare Hunt. But Arnold also produced some heroics of her own, and when Vicki Becho hit the post, Vine was able to step up and side-foot the Matildas into the last four and spark wild celebrations on the pitch and in the stands.

Key stats

  • Australia had never played out a goalless draw at the Women’s World Cup before tonight.

  • This was France’s fourth FIFA Women’s World Cup quarter-final – and the third to be settled by a penalty shootout.

VISA Player of the Match

Mackenzie Arnold (Australia)



“I’m so proud. The bravery and the heart this team showed is unbelievable. To the crowd, I can only say thank you. Thanks for supporting this team and believing in them. This team belongs to every single person in this country.” Tony Gustavsson, Australia coach

“You have to be proud of the girls tonight. They played an exceptional match. It went from one end to the other and it’s hard to say who deserved it more. Congratulations to Australia. Congratulations to all of our staff, who did a magnificent job. We have to keep our heads up and think about the Olympic Games. You have to persevere and be proud of what they’ve done. It’s football, it’s destiny that has chosen. Good luck to Australia.” Herve Renard, France coach


“This feeling is something I’ve never felt before. I’m just so proud of the girls. But I feel like I don’t know what to say – I’m overwhelmed. I didn’t feel I had too much to do for long periods of time but there were a couple of saves I needed to make and I’m glad I was able to do my job and help the team. I’ll be dwelling on the penalty I missed for a while but I just wanted to keep doing my job. [Can we win the trophy now?] Of course!” Mackenzie Arnold, Australia goalkeeper

“It’s not easy. We have a remarkable, wonderful squad. I’m proud of my team-mates tonight, proud of everyone – the staff, the players. In the end, it was a close call. But we’ve had two incredible months and we need to keep building.” Wendie Renard, France captain


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