Australia edge France in penalty drama to reach first Women's World Cup semi
Co-hosts Australia beat France 7-6 in a dramatic penalty shootout to reach the last four of the Women's World Cup for the first time, setting up a semi-final thriller with England.
Australia goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold saved three French penalties and missed one herself in the shootout after the game finished 0-0 after extra time. It was teenager Vicki Becho hitting the post with the 12th spot-kick that opened the door for the hosts.
Cortnee Vine showed nerves of steel when she stepped up to fire the ball past Solene Durand into the bottom right corner of the net and send the Matildas into a semi-final against England or Colombia on Wednesday.
#BREAKING: Watch the moment in stadium when Australia defeated France on penalties to advance to the #FIFAWomensWorldCup2023 semi-finals today. Cortnee Vine scored the winning penalty for the game. #FIFAWorldCup #FIFAWWC #FIFAWomensWorldCup #FIFAモバイル #Matildas pic.twitter.com/lTdGpVlP3C— EvoCentral (@evocentralnews) August 12, 2023
The substitute winger raced back towards the centre circle to celebrate with her team mates as the stadium and fan zones around the country exploded in delight.
Arnold hit the post with what would have been the winning spot-kick before the shootout went to sudden death, but she kept her focus to twice save penalties from Kenza Dali, seeing the first scratched off because she moved off the line.
"It's unreal," said Arnold. "At the end of the day, it's my job to keep the ball out of the net. And thankfully I could do that for them. But we all do it for each other out there, and they have my back 100%."
Australia will now face England in the semis, while Spain will play Sweden on Tuesday in Auckland for the other spot in the final.