Matildas bow out in last eight

A 1-0 loss to Japan has ended Australia's women's World Cup campaign in Canada at the quarter-final stage for the third time in succession.

The Matildas held on against the world champions until the 87th minute when substitute Mana Iwabuchi found the back of the net from close range.

Coach Alen Stajcic said he was thrilled with the effort shown by his players, but admitted Japan had been the better side.

"In terms of courage, heart and spirit, (the Matildas were) fantastic," he said. "In terms of execution, (it was) not one of our best games. Japan were the better team today. It was a scrappy way to score a goal, but you can't say they didn't deserve their victory."

An 8-0 corner count in favour of the Nadeshiko reflected its dominance, with Australia creating few scoring chances against a very organised defence.

The best opportunity came early in the second half, although Samantha Kerr's shot from inside the area lacked the power to fully test goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori. Emily Van Egmond let fly from long range soon after but her shot sailed just over the crossbar.

Japan, which beat Germany in a penalty shoot-out to claim the title in 2011, will now play England in one semi-final.

Goals to Jodie Taylor and Lucy Bronze - both inside the first 15 minutes - was enough to get England home 2-1 over host Canada to earn a berth in the last four for the first time.

World No.1 Germany will tackle the USA in the other semi. Germany eliminated France 5-4 on penalties after the scores had been locked 1-1 after extra-time in their quarter-final, while the USA beat China 1-0.

- APN SPORTS BUREAU



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