Brazil were forced to rely on a lone second-half strike from Rosana to overcome an impressive Australia who gave as good as they got against the South Americans at the Stadion im Borussia-Park, Moenchengladbach.
Australia coach Tom Sermanni fielded a new line-up including two teenagers in Emily van Egmond and Caitlin Foord; the latter going head to head with Brazil superstar Marta despite being the third youngest player at Germany 2011.
The Australians shaded first-half possession statistics against the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ runners-up, but both teams created good openings in the opening stanza. Australia midfielder Collette McCallum directed a dangerous free-kick over the crossbar in the early stages, while Brazil soon responded in kind as Rosana twisted adroitly to direct her header narrowly over.
The match soon settled into a rhythm with Australia keen to push forward at every opportunity, while Brazil were content to sit deep when not in possession.
Australia forward Kyah Simon tried her luck with a snapshot from the edge of penalty area but Andreia was equal to the task producing a spectacular grab. Again Brazil quickly replied and should have opened the scoring after fine work from an otherwise subdued Marta, with her run setting up Rosana but the shot was scooped over from eight metres.
Lisa De Vanna had an excellent opportunity after a defensive error from Brazilian captain Aline, but the Australia striker snatched at her shot sending the ball wide.
Brazil made the perfect start to the second stanza with what proved to be the only goal of the match. The deadlock was broken as Australia failed to deal with a bouncing ball on the edge of the penalty area and Rosana took full advantage of the hesitancy to thrash her effort home.
Rosana tried her luck soon after with high effort from distance but goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri moved well to take the ball on the near post.
The goal seemed to slow the fluency that had been on display from the Australians in the first half, and they had to wait until the latter stages to find their momentum. The Matildas however were unable to make anything out of a host of late chances.
Firstly, Heather Garriock narrowly failed to get on the end of Tameka Butt’s cross with the defence stretched, while De Vanna chased down a long ball only to sky her effort with only the goalkeeper to beat three minutes from time.
The Brazilians remained on the back foot until the final minutes as McCallum’s injury-time corner caused havoc before eventually being hacked to safety.
Player of the match: Rosana