Australia has dominated the 2017 Tournament of Nations so far, if they beat Brazil they win the tournament no matter the results of the USA vs Japan. Brazil seemed to have Sunday’s match against the USA in the bag after going up 3-1 late in the second half. A collapse of Brazilian defense and the persistence of Christen Press and the USWNT led to a 4-3 comeback win in nine minutes for the USWNT. Sunday’s matches did not disappoint, Sam Kerr scored the first ever hat trick for the Australian National Team. Japan went up early but Sam Kerr was quick to strike back, producing a hat trick in the first half. Australia went on to beat Japan 4-2. The final match for Australia and Brazil is being played at the StubHub Center in Carson, California at 7:15 pm ET.
Australia and Brazil have met before in Olympic play and World Cup play. Brazil is the team that knocked the Matildas out of the most recent Olympics in 2016. That quarterfinal match between the Matildas and Brazil resulted in a penalty shoot out win for Brazil, sending the Olympic host country through. It was a similar story at the 2007 World Cup when Brazil knocked out Australia’s run in the quarterfinal stage.
Can Brazil deal with Sam Kerr?
Japan could not deal with Australia’s high press and the speed of Kerr. Kerr often found herself behind the back line one on one with Japan’s keeper. Brazil also struggled to deal with the USWNT in the final minutes of the match. In the final nine minutes, the USWNT scored three goals. Brazil will have to deal with Australia’s high press if they want to stop Australia from winning the Tournament. Kerr has proved that she can score goals both on the international stage and at the club level. Kerr is the all-time leading goal scorer in NWSL history with 37. She has 52 caps and 11 goals with the Matilda’s.
Players in the NWSL
Brazil has six players participating in the Tournament of Nations from the NWSL. Andressinha, Bruna Benites, Camila, Debinha, Marta, and Monica all play for Brazil and for their respective clubs in the NWSL. All seven goals during the USA vs Brazil match were scored by NWSL players. Andressinha (Houston Dash) scored two goals, and Marta (Orlando Pride) scored the third goal for Brazil. Australia has five players that play their club soccer in the NWSL, they are Steph Catley, Sam Kerr, Alanna Kennedy, Haley Raso, and Lydia Williams.
If Australia wins this will be their first big tournament win since 2010. In 2010 Australia won the Asian. This would be huge for Australia after they opened the Tournament with their first ever win against the USWNT.