Thursday 13 June 2019, 20:42

Self-belief drives never-say-die Matildas

  • Australia revived their campaign with action-packed win over Brazil

  • Matildas became just second nation to win after being two goals down

  • Player of the Match Chloe Logarzo says scoring “is like a dream come true”

By Pete Smith with Australia

“Not at any point did I think we were going to lose that game.”

It is quite a statement from Australia midfielder Chloe Logarzo given the Matildas were 2-0 down against a Marta-inspired Brazil who were just starting to find their jogo bonito rhythm.

But a remarkable 20-minute three-goal turnaround saw the Aussies become just the second team in FIFA Women’s World Cup™ history to win after conceding a two-goal deficit (other than via a penalty shoot-out). The only other team to do so was Sweden, and that was 24 years ago. Ultimately the drama-charged 3-2 win kick-started a teetering campaign for the Green and Gold.

But when it comes to heart and belief the Matildas are no ordinary team. They even have the phrase Never Say Die embroidered into their shirt. First coined at the 2007 Women’s World Cup after a breakthrough campaign, the tagline has since become associated with the team. And they tend to live up to that expression in spades.

In four of the last ten Women’s World Cup matches when the Matildas have fallen behind, they have come back to either draw or win.

The first match in the tournament to feature two top-ten nations, this was a contest that had everything. Inevitably Marta put her stamp on the match after her surprise return from injury, extending her own Women’s World Cup record to 16 goals and becoming the first player to net in five editions of the tournament.

But the player that had the most effect on the match was a World Cup rookie. Aussie midfielder Logarzo was named Player of the Match for her crucial second goal and extraordinary work-rate.

A born fighter, the metronome-like Logarzo encapsulates the Matildas character.

“I think it is the Australian spirit, and (coach) Ante (Milicic) came in (at half-time) and said exactly the same thing. When we have backs to the wall, we come out swinging.

“It was really disheartening for us against Italy. Although we had a moment to be sad about it, we had to move on and Ante has done a really job in instilling belief in us.”

Long renowned for her long-range strikes, Logarzo was an inch or so away from sending Australia into the medal round of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games at the expense of the hosts when her effort crashed against the crossbar.

But the bad luck experienced against Brazil in Belo Horizonte three years ago was flipped around this time. Logarzo drew Australia level in Montpellier, but admits it was a happy accident.

"I will let you in on a little secret, it was a just a through ball to Sam (Kerr)," Logarzo said through a broad smile after the match. "But Sam did a great job of disguising it and putting the goalkeeper off so I will take it.

“I can’t even describe it (scoring), it is a dream come true. To do it in front of my friends and family was extra special. That goal and celebration was for (injured team-mate) Laura Alleway.”

Logarzo made a pact to herself after being cut before the last World Cup that she would do everything in her power to be at France 2019. Now, having overcome a leg fracture suffered just four months ago, Logarzo is determined that the Matildas make the most of this opportunity.

"I think we just established ourselves in the competition. We have belief in ourselves, and we will keep that for the rest of the tournament.”