For Australia, after victories over the United States (1-0) and Japan (4-2) in the last week, the goal going into their final game of the Tournament of Nations was simple: win or tie, and the title for the first ever round-robin tournament between four of the top eight FIFA ranked teams was theirs.
On a warm evening in Carson, California, they did just that, winning in a convincing fashion that they were the best team in the Tournament of Nations by defeating Brazil 6-1 and gaining all nine points possible.
All Australia, All First 45 Minutes
In the starting two minutes, even without Marta, it looked as if Brazil would give Australia a tougher challenge. On a set piece, Camila, who plays for the Orlando Pride, caught Australian goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold off guard. Arnold was making her first start of the tournament because Lydia Williams suffered a quad injury. Camila scored her second goal of the tournament, and Brazil took the 1-0 lead.
It wouldn't be long, however, before Australia countered and found themselves threatening the goal. Sam Kerr was taken down in the box, and the referee awarded the penalty kick. Australia's leading scorer and veteran Lisa De Vanna took the penalty kick, which was blocked by Brazilian goalkeeper Dani Neuhaus, who replaced starter Bàrbara for the game. However, De Vanna was able to capitalize on the rebound and tied the game.
After a couple of chances for Australia, including a goal that was called back due to offsides, and a wide right shot by Katrina Gorry, Brazil almost took on the lead. A run and a pass by Lumila to Camila nearly crept into the net, but it went wide left instead.
Several missed chances by Australia and saves by Neuhaus kept the game at 1-1 until the 32nd minute. Australia was able to counter after Arnold denied Brazil the opportunity for the lead. Kerr took the ball up the right flank and sent a cross that found Caitlin Foord, whose slotted shot found the back of the net. Australia led 2-1.
After that, it was all Australia for the rest of the game. Three minutes later, De Vanna scored her second goal of the game after a Kerr pass, and Australia took the two-goal lead. In the 41st minute, Ellie Carpenter found Gorry in the box. Gorry passed two defenders for the shot on goal that went in off the far post. Going into halftime, the Westfield Matildas held a comfortable 4-1 lead.
The Matildas Finish Strong
The game could have ended at 4-1, but the Westfield Matildas were not done. It took 23 minutes into the second half and after back and forth opportunities for both sides, Australia took a 5-1 lead. Second half substitute Tamika Butt sent a ball to Foord, who beat the keeper for a wide open shot on goal.
In the 81st minute, after assisting on two goals earlier, Kerr was able to get past two defenders to score a goal and give Australia a five-goal lead.
Nothing Brazil could have done for the last 9 minutes would have changed the outcome. A young and determined Australian team scored 11 goals throughout the tournament with NWSL MVP candidate Kerr as their leading scorer for the tournament with 4 goals. They were the most impressive and deserving team of the tournament after earning all nine points possible.
After the final game between the United States and Japan, Australia hoisted the 2017 Tournament of Nations trophy.