CHICAGO – Australia opened up the Women’s World Cup group play for 2019 with a 2-1 loss against Italy. Chicago Red Stars forward Sam Kerr scored her first career World Cup goal in the 22nd minute.

The Australian striker started up top for the Matilda’s, and in the 22nd minute gave Australia the lead. As Kerr chased a cross into the box, the striker was pulled down and a penalty was given. Kerr’s initial shot from the spot was blocked by the goalkeeper but she pounced on the rebound and tapped it the goal to put Australia ahead. Italy equalized in the 56th minute through Barbara Bonansea who then went on to score again in the fifth minute of extra time to win the game. The match may have ended differently if Lisa De Vanna could’ve capitalized on a dangerous Kerr cross in the 80th minute but Australia’s all-time leading scorer headed the ball just wide of goal. Even though Australia held 64% of the possession and out-shot Italy 16-6, they find themselves with work to do in Group C.

After the game, Kerr spoke to the press and remained optimistic.

“It’s obviously disappointing to lose but we have still got two games and we are definitely not out,” said Kerr.

Kerr and the Matilda’s go again against Brazil on Thursday at the Stade de la Mosson in Montpellier. Kickoff is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. Central Standard Time.

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