Australia through to Women's World Cup

The Qantas Matildas have emulated its male counterparts by qualifying for its World Cup equivalent, the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, after winning through to the final of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup earlier today. They beat Japan 2-0 in its semi final clash played at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide.

The Qantas Matildas have emulated its male counterparts by qualifying for its World Cup equivalent, the 2007 FIFA Women-s World Cup, after winning through to the final of the AFC Women-s Championship earlier today.

Their 2-0 semi final victory over Japan at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide has ensured Australia will be one of the two automatic Asia representatives at the tournament to be held in China next year.

First half goals from Caitlin Munoz and Jo Peters sealed the win, although a superb defensive display in the second half also played a major role in the teams- success.

The win also makes the Qantas Matildas the first Australian team to make the final of an Asian Football Confederation tournament, since becoming a full member in January of this year.

They will play China in the final next Sunday at Hindmarsh Stadium, kicking off at 3.30pm.

The match got off to a great start for the home side, when they took the lead after just nine minutes. A series of crosses into the Japanese penalty area saw the ball eventually cleared to Sally Shipard some 25 yards out, who struck a low shot towards goal. But Munoz decided to flick out her foot at the ball and she connected cleanly and sending it into the top corner.

Shipard almost made it 2-0 minutes later, when the Japanese keeper Fukumoto fumbled the ball, with the Aussie midfielder Sally Shipard sending the shot straight back to the keeper.

After their nervous start, Japan settled into the game and came back at Australia briefly before half time with the dangerous Nagasato curling a shot just over the bar.

However the killer blow for Australia came deep into first half injury time, when a corner was again fumbled by Fukumoto and in the ensuing scramble the ball came out to Peters, who made no mistake from 8 yards out.

Pressed into action, Japan made several half time substitutions and came out with all guns blazing and putting pressure on the well-organised Australian defence.

Shipard almost sealed Japan-s fate on the hour mark, when a swift counter-attack saw Munoz cut a ball back to Shipard, whose low shot skimmed the post as it went out.

While it was Japan doing most of the pressing, it was Australia that were creating the better opportunities with Sarah Walsh and Rhian Davies both forcing saves from Fukumoto.

With the game creeping into the final 15 minutes, Japan threw everything at the Aussie defence, who showed their desperation in trying to keep their perfect record of not conceding a goal so far at the tournament.

In the end, Japan simply ran out of legs and ideas and the Matildas deservedly marched into the final and date with China in the final, who beat defending champions DPR Korea 1-0 in the latter semi final.

Match Details

Japan 0 Australia 2 (Caitlin Munoz 9-, Jo Peters 46+-)

Australia Line-up: Melissa Barbieri (gk); Dianne Alagich, Cheryl Salisbury, Rhian Davies, Thea Slatyer (Kate McShea 60-); Heather Garriock, Joanne Peters, Collette McCallum (Alicia Ferguson 83'), Sally Shipard; Sarah Walsh (Lisa De Vanna 75-), Caitlin Munoz Subs Not Used: Karla Reuter, Kathryn Gill, Kylie Ledbrook, Lydia Williams (gk), Joanne Burgess, Leah Blayney

Cautions: De Vanna (81-)

Japan Line-up: Fukumoto (gk), Isozaki, Shimokozuru, Yano, Ando (Otani 75-), Yanagita, Sawa, Nakaoka (Sakaguchi h/t), Miyama (Sakai h/t), Ohno, Nagasato Cautions: Sawa (84-)

Referee: Jenni Palmquist (Sweden)