Footage posted online shows a plane-full of passengers flying glued to their screens for those tense final moments, before erupting in celebration once Cortnee Vine slotted the match-winning spot kick. –NZ Herald

By Roger Childs

In front of a huge home crowd in Brisbane the Australian Women’s Football team beat the odds and France in an extraordinary penalty shoot-out. After two hours play without a goal being scored, it came down to the respective goalies facing the opposition players, one by one, trying to put the ball from the penalty spot into the net. Penalty shoot-out are always tense and exciting, but the Australian and French women turned on one which was extraordinarily dramatic and set a record for all such climaxes in World Cup history.

The rules of penalty shoot-outs

  • Each team takes turns shooting at goal from the penalty spot, with the goal defended only by the opposing team’s goalkeeper. 
  • Each team has five shots which must be taken by different players. 
  • Shoot-outs finish as soon as one team has an insurmountable lead. 
  • If the scores are level after five pairs of shots, the shoot-out progresses into additional rounds.
  • Each team takes a further one penalty each, repeated until only one team scores – that team is then declared the winner.

A penalty shoot-out like no other

The drama was intense and a record ten rounds were required before a winner was found.

Round 1: France misses, Australia scores

Selma Bacha stepped up first after France won the coin toss, but her shot was saved by Mackenzie Arnold.
Caitlin Foord snuck her strike past Durand going left, sending the crowd in Brisbane into a frenzy.

Round 2: France scores, Australia misses

Kadidiatou Diani does what she does best — scoring a goal that Mackenzie Arnold had no chance of saving.

Solene Durand  saves Steph Catley‘s attempt to even things up.

Round 3: Both score

The captains got the job done for each side, as superstars Wendie Renard and Sam Kerr each calmly sunk their attempts to keep things tied.

Round 4: Both score

Next up were veteran France legend Eugenie Le Sommer and young Australia phenomenon Mary Fowler, who each made their tries look easy.

Round 5: Both miss
Mackenzie Arnold made an incredible save on one end — but then her bid for a winner went off the post.

So at the end of the statutory five rounds the teams were equal 3-3. Now it was sudden death: if one team missed and the other scored, the latter would be declared the winner. 

Round 6: Both score

Grace Geyoro snuck one past Arnold, and Katrina Gorry returned the favour for Australia to keep the match going.

Round 7: Both score

Sakina Karchaoui for France, Tameka Yallop for Australia.

Round 8: Both score

Both sides answered as Maelle Lakrar and Ellie Carpenter hit their penalties into the back of the net.

Round 9: Both miss

Kenza Dali‘s attempt was saved by Mackenzie Arnold for her third of the shootout, but Clare Hunt couldn’t take advantage and the shootout continued.

Round 10: France misses, Australia scores

Vicki Becho‘s shot went off the post before Cortnee Vine finally made the winner to send the host Matildas into the semi-finals.

Four matches to go
In the other quarter-final across the Tasman England beat Colombia 2-1, so Australia will meet the English in the semi-final at Stadium Australia in Sydney on Wednesday 16 August. The day before, at Auckland’s Eden Park Spain will play Sweden to decide the other finalist.

Then on Saturday 19 August at Lang Park in Brisbane third place in the tournament will be decided.

The final to determine who will win the coveted FIFA Womens’ World Cup trophy for 2023 will take place at Stadium Australia on Sunday 20 August.