Australia and USA lead Tournament of Nations, with Brazil breathing down their necks
Australia in 'slightly favoured box seat' to win #ToN201831 July 2018 | FT Editor
The 90th minute equaliser for a 1-1 result for USA v Australia might have meant 'heartbreak' for the Matildas after hanging on to the lead for the best part of 70 minutes, but it still puts them in the slightly favoured box seat to take out the Tournament of Nations for the second consecutive year.
In the other match held yesterday, Brazil defeated Japan 1-0 with a goal to Marta, which the USA meeting the stronger of the two opponents in the final and determining match of the tournanment.
The USA controlled most of the opening half of the match played in front of a crowd of 21,570 people, generating several chances and dominating possession but Australia showed it was well capable of taking advantage of the counter-attack, with the opening goal of the game coming in the 22nd minute after a terrific run from Lisa De Vanna and smart finish from Chloe Logarzo (pictured). Logarzo also picked up a yellow card along with Emily Van Egmond and Lydia Williams.
In the second half, it was a similar story, with the USA having the edge in possession, shots on goal and corner kicks, but unable to penetrate the Matildas' impressive defence. The Americans eventually broke through in the 90th minute with a Megan Rapinoe corner kick that Lindsey Horan headed home.
While Australia and the USA are equal on top of the table with four points each and a +2 goal difference, Brazil (3 points, -1 goal difference) could still win the tournament depending on a number of scenarios in the final two games.
It's a straightforward task for Australia: defeat Japan and hope that the USA either draw with or lose to Brazil. In this scenario, of an Australian win, Brazil is out of it.
However, if both Australia and the USA win by the same margin, but Australia scores one more goal than the USA, the teams would be tied on points, goal differential, goals scored, and head-to-head, meaning the next tiebreaker would be the FIFA ranking, which the USA would win due to its No. 1 ranking.
IF Australia loses, the tournament winner will be the winner of the USA v Brazil match or, if that game is a draw, then the USA will be crowned tournament winners.
As the first game of the final day is Australia v Japan, both the USA and Brazil will know what they need to do.
The final games will be held on Thursday local time (Friday AEST) in Chicago, with Australia v Japan the earlier kick-off, and USA v Brazil the later game.
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