After Australia’s 3-2 victory over Brazil in on Wednesday evening, Elise Kellond-Knight revealed just what inspired the Matildas to their first win at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Ante Milicic’s side trailed 2-0 inside 40 minutes, after Marta converted a dubious penalty and Cristiane headed home for her fourth goal in two games.
But Australia fought back as Caitlin Foord prodded home just before half time, with a strike from Chloe Logarzo and an own goal from Monica, with the aid of VAR, completing the comeback in the second half.
Speaking after the game, Kellond-Knight explained what helped fire up the Aussies to fight back in a game between two nations that already have plenty of history having met in several high-profile fixtures.
Asked about the nature of Brazil’s celebrations after they scored, the midfielder said: “It pisses you off a little bit to be honest with you.
“It’s such a big rivalry as it is and then to see them celebrating and putting it in your face a little bit, it fires you up.
“So good on them, it gave us a little bit more encouragement.”
The 2-0 score on the boards at the Stade de la Mosson in Montpellier in the first half left Australia on the brink of being all-but eliminated from the tournament, despite being fancied underdogs going into the summer.
They had lost their first game in a shock 2-1 defeat to Italy, but Kellond-Knight insisted that the team never counted themselves out of this game, or the competition.
“We believe,” she said. “We are a team that believe in what we can do. 2-0 down, backs against the wall, it just shows the character of this team.
“I think until we’re down and out, we’ll keep believing.
“Results recently haven’t been convincing, [we’ve got] a little bit of criticism but it’s safe to say we will have won a lot of support back after that game,” the 28-year-old continued.
“Not only getting a result, but the way we played, the excitement of the game and seeing the courage and the character.
“How could you not want to support a team like this?”
Luck played a part in the victory, with Logarzo’s goal a cross that fortunately turned into a shot, while the winning effort was a controversial VAR decision.
A long, hopeful ball was aimed towards Sam Kerr, in an offside position, and centre-back Monica’s headed interception turned into a headed own goal.
Kellond-Knight believes it was luck due to Australia though, who were the better team throughout.
“It’s football isn’t it?” she said.
“You’ve got to put the ball in there and you’ve got to make luck in a way. Some people say sometimes that the goals are just luck, but you’re making the luck.
“You’re dominating the game, you’re dominating where the ball is played, so in a way we created those chances, with a bit of fortune.”
Despite the excitement that was clearly visible in the players, Kellond-Knight would not be drawn on expectations of the team moving forward, preferring to take things one game at a time.
“There’s a long way to go,” she added.
“This tournament is a marathon so we can’t get overly excited after one win.
“We’re going to enjoy it, of course, but we know we’ve got a mountain ahead of us so we’re ready for the challenge.”
Up next for the Matildas, in their final group game, are Jamaica, who face Italy on Thursday.
“They are a decent team,” Kellond-Knight said.
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“They’re dangerous and unpredictable so we’re going to have to be on our game against them and it’s another challenge we face next week.
“[Conceding] two goals is again a concern but look at the character of this team. To get three and win the game is just amazing.”
Australia take on the Reggae Girlz on Tuesday 18 June, hoping to secure their spot in the last 16 for the fourth successive tournament.