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June 17, 2019

Kerr, Australia fight for a Knockout Stage Spot vs Jamaica

Red Stars forward seeks to silence critics once again.

CHICAGO — “Suck on that one” were the words echoed around the globe after Chicago Red Stars forward Sam Kerr and Australia silenced critics in a comeback victory against Brazil last Thursday. Five days later, the Matildas look to once again prove their ‘haters’ wrong and secure a spot in the Round of 16 against Jamaica on Tuesday.

The Matildas have been fighting for World Cup survival since former Red Stars Christiane put Brazil up 2-0 in the 38th minute of their Matchday 2 encounter. It was then Australia started to fight back and clawed their way out of a deficit. Kerr didn’t technically get on the scoresheet but essentially produced two “phantom” goals. After Australia scored a goal to cut the Brazil lead to one, she made a run that lured Brazilian goalkeeper Bábara off her line, clearing the way for Chloe Logarzo to tie the game at 2. Eight minutes later, another run by Kerr forced the Brazil defense back and make a play on the ball, one that resulted in a defender heading the ball into her own net to give the Matildas a 3-2 victory.

With a new breath of life and a spirit fitting of the motto: “Never Say Die,” Australia has a chance to advance to the Knockout Stages with a result against Jamaica. The Reggae Girlz’s welcome to the World Cup was a 3-0 loss to Brazil, which was followed up by a 5-0 loss to Italy.

Jamaica wasn’t expected to make much noise in the tournament considering their FIFA ranking of 53, but the team possesses talent ready to deliver another twist in the Matildas’ story. The talk of the World Cup for the Reggae Girlz has focused on goalkeeper Sydney Schneider, a 19-year-old who currently plays in college for UNC Wilmington. Against Brazil she made a terrific penalty kick save against Debinha and followed it up by stopping another kick from the spot in their following game against Italy, though a foul gave the Italians a chance to retake the spot kick.

On the other end of the pitch, Jamaica has another budding star in Khadija “Bunny” Shaw. The 22-year old is the reigning SEC Offensive player of the year, scoring 27 goals in 35 appearances for the University of Tennesse and has a similar outstanding goal ratio for her country, scoring 31 goals in 24 appearances.

Australia will enter the game as the favorites, as they currently sit 6th in the FIFA rankings and momentum fully on their side after last week’s result. Kickoff is scheduled for Tuesday, June 18 at 2:00 P.M. CT on FS2.

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