The Australian women's soccer team played the game of their lives Sunday, but it wasn't enough to upend the brilliant Brazilians in quarter-final action at the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup.
Cristiane scored the winning goal in the 75th minute to give the eighth-seeded South Americans a 3-2 victory over upstarts Australia and a berth in the tournament semifinals in Tianjin, China.
Brazil will meet two-time World Cup champions and world No. 1 ranked United States in Thursday's semifinal match (CBC, 7:45 a.m. ET).Defending champions Germany face 1995 titlists Norway in the other semifinal Wednesday (CBC, 7:45 a.m. ET).
Down 2-0 after 23 minutes and without theirveteran captain Cheryl Salisbury, who was forced to leave the game due to an injury, Australia's first appearance in the World Cup quarter-finals couldn't have gone more awry.
Just four minutes into the contest, Formiga stole the ball from Australia's Heather Garriock and launched a shot from 25 yards out over the head of Australian goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri for a 1-0 lead.
Barbieri had to be on her toes less than five minutes later when Brazil's star striker Marta had a chance on a breakaway. Barbieri deflected Marta's shot, but it was evident from the early going that Brazil was going to be a handful for the full 90 minutes.
Making matters worse, Salisbury, the Matildas' most-capped player, suffered an unknown injury and had to be taken off the field at 20-minute mark. The 33-year-old captain scored the decisive goal in Thursday's 2-2 draw with Canada that pushed Australia into the quarters.
Minutes later, Salisbury's replacement Kate McShea was whistled for fouling Renata Costa in the penalty area (though television replays show the foul occurred just outside the box). Marta precisely converted the penalty kick to the low right-hand corner of the goal for a 2-0 edge.
But just when it appeared the Brazilians were taking over the contest, super-sub-turned-starter Lisa DeVanna gave the Matildas the boost they needed.
The petite, lightning-quick forward pounced on a poor back pass from a Brazilian defender to goalkeeper Andrea, took one touch around the goalie and knocked the ball into the open net to cut the deficit to one after 36 minutes. The marker was DeVanna's fourth of the tournament.
The Brazilians carried the majority of possession in the match, dazzling the crowd with their precision passing, creative runs and one-on-one dribbling skills. However, the Australians were equally dangerous on the counterattack.
In the 68th minute, the dangerous DeVanna earned a free kick after being fouled by Elaine. On the ensuing long-range kick, Australia scored the equalizer on a beautiful header by defender Lauren Colthorpe.
Cristiane crushed any Australian hopes of a victory seven minutes later. With her back facing the goal, the skillful forward gathered a toe-poke pass from Daniela, turned her defender and blasted the ball into the top-right corner of the net.