The first round of Group C matches have finished at the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the results have not fallen in the Matildas’ favour.
After Australia went down 2-1 at the death against Italy, Group C rivals Brazil kicked off their campaign with a 3-0 victory over World Cup debutants Jamaica, courtesy of a hat trick from Cristiane Rozeira.
Australian fans tuning in for the first time may be thinking it’s not looking good for the Matildas, having lived through the Socceroos’ failure to progress from the group stage in their last two attempts.
The good news is, unlike the men’s World Cup – where third and fourth place in each group exit the tournament – the women’s tournament has 24 teams, with six groups of four teams (as opposed to a 32-team tournament). This means that the four best third-placed teams will progress through to the Round of 16 knockout matches.
Based on the 2015 tournament, four points (one win, one draw, one loss) was enough to secure nations a spot in the Round of 16, with two teams even escaping the group stage on three points.
With the next match scheduled against Brazil on Thursday night (Friday, 2am AEST), a win would put Australia in the box seat to progress, assuming they can secure at least a draw in the final group match against Jamaica.
Two wins would almost certainly guarantee progression, and the potential to face lower-ranked teams in the Round of 16.
While the Matildas may not have got off to an ideal start, I’m confident they’ll dust themselves off and get the job done in the remaining matches.