"Advance, Australia Fair"
And advance they have, the furthest ever the country has gone in the Women's World Cup.
Now they face the buzzsaw of Brazil. So far, I'm not doing great on predictions. My upset pick was North Korea, and I thought an inspired China would take out Norway, so the U.S. over England is my only success.
But I'm confident Brazil can handle the Aussies easily. However, one of the things about soccer that is great is the unpredictability of it.
4 - GOAL Ok, I can be smug now. Formiga scores. In my earlier article on Brazil, I had Formiga down as the team's unsung star.
10 - Aussies have come back before - most memorably versus Canada in group play, but Brazil is no Canada - witness how they spanked the Reds at the PanAm games.
Formiga just steamrolled the Aussie defense and found the seam for a hard shot and just hammered it. Aussie goalkeeper Barbieri has a wonky ankle, or she might have done better on the jump for the parry.
12 CK for Australia. Cleared. Aussies are keeping their composure, though.
18 Salisbury is down - this could be very bad for Australia - she's the captain and guiding force for this squad.
20 - Yep, Salisbury is out. Things looking bleaker for the Matildas. I don't think the outcome would have changed, but it gives the Aussies a ready excuse, at least.
22 - GOAL PK, for Brazil - Marta takes and makes. I'm with Foudy here, I basically thought that the foul happened just outside the line, but I guess the FIFA injunction of continuation is coming into play here. Renata Costa had the attacking run to create the PK.
26 - Brazil is pretty much doubling the possession time of Australia. It's complete and total domination so far.
31 - It's probably not any consolation to Australia, but I like their uniforms. They're cute. The slim cut makes it so the team doesn't look like it raided the federation closets for smallsized men's jerseys.
34 - CK for Brazil. They're all over a glum Australia right now.
35 - GOAL And then the Brazilian defense gets way sloppy. A routine backpass is hit haphazardly and DeVanna has the wheels to chase it down, and poke it away from Andrea, the goalkeeper, leaving the empty net for a tap in. Brazil gives up its first goal of the tournament.
38 - Brazil goes right back the other way, but the shot is saved.
40 - Barbieri is down. A knee injury, looks like. More trouble for Australia. She's back up - but the knee doesn't seem strong.
42 - Elaine picks up a slight knock.
43 - Brazil corner - good chance, but it is cleared. Daniela Alves is pulling the trigger on outside shots any chance she gets.
45 - Brazil has possession, but isn't working well to create a chance before the whistle blows. Just as I type that, a great run by Marta leads to a perfect cross, but no one made the run.
Halftime - Brazil swaggered in and attacked beautifully, but their nonchalance on defense allowed a goal to keep Australia in the game.
46 CK for Brazil. Nothing.
48 - CK Australia. Nothing.
49 - The Aussies have settled into a pattern on their counters - they concede the possession, but they are dangerous going the other way, especially with the speed of DeVanna.
52 - If Australia makes Brazil work harder for this win, it could have an affect on the U.S. game - Brazil is already one day short on rest, and unlike the comfortable win of the U.S., could be running hard a lot of this game.
55 - Brazil still looks so good in their buildup, but the final pass is lacking.
56 - Christiane earns a nice corner on a nice attack. Cleared out.
60 - Daniela is down - looked similar to Beckham's injury, a clash between the legs of players going for the ball.
65 - Daniella is back, she's fine. JoAnne Peters gets a yellow for a tackle on Formiga.
67 - Attitude-wise, Australia did a 180 after the DeVanna goal. They're fighting hard and staying compact.
68 - GOAL Colthorpe heads the ball in on freekick. Australia capitalize on another half-chance. GAME ON. Brazil seems to have lost composure.
70 - On one hand, my prediction is crumbling a bit, but I don't really care - it's great to see a nailbiter after the more lopsided wins. China versus Norway was closer, but the Chinese just seemed too freaked out to catch the Norwegians.
74 - Interesting part time job for one Aussie member.
De Vanna has worked at a gas station, as well. Salisbury works as a motivational speaker.
75 - GOAL - Christiane slams a shot in, just from the outside of the box. She gets a defender off balance and just wallops the ball into the corner.
77 - Do the Aussies have another miracle to pull out of this match?
83 - That might have been the one, right there. Free kick to Brazil and Marta puts it off the crossbar.
84 - WOW, what looked like a penalty for Australia on the counter, but no replay to see for sure. Damn.
87 - Brazil build up ends up in Barbieri's hands. She's been very steady, especially given that she's playing on an ankle injury.
90 - Oooh, a chance for the Aussies on another freekick. They nearly capitalize.
90 + Brazil on a final attack. Barbieri stones Christiane one on one - but eventually concedes a corner. Time runs out on Australia.
Brazil wins and faces the U.S. in the semifinal.
This game, more than any other in the tournament, showcased the women's game at a great, high level. It's kind of sad that of the two teams involved, the Brazilians have hardly played together because their federation cannot afford to set up games. Meanwhile, many of the Australians hold down outside jobs just to pay their bills. Yet they offered up the best match of the Women's World Cup thus far. This one was epic.