Australia

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Australian federation, players’ union close gender pay gap

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SYDNEY — Australia’s football federation and players’ union say they have agreed on a new collective bargaining agreement that closes the pay gap between the men’s and women’s national teams.

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The new four-year CBA announced Tuesday ensures the Socceroos and Matildas receive a 24 percent share of an agreed aggregate of generated revenues in 2019-20, rising by 1 percent each year.

Under the agreement, players are entitled to 40 percent of prize money on qualifying for a FIFA World Cup, representing an increase from 30 percent. That share of prize money increases to 50 percent if they progress to the knockout stage of the competition.

“The new agreement reflects football’s determination to address issues of gender equity in all facets of the game and build a sustainable financial model that rewards players as national team revenues increase,” a joint statement said. “Significantly for the Matildas, a new three-tiered centralized contract system will see Australia’s finest women’s footballers provided with increased annual remuneration with the tier 1 players earning the same amount as the top Socceroos.”

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The agreement still doesn’t reflect equal remuneration: the Socceroos’ prize money is exponentially greater than the Matildas.

Local media reported that at the 2018 men’s World Cup in Russia, the Socceroos earned $5.5 million just for qualifying, and then failed to win a game. The Matildas earned about $700,000 for making the knockout stages at the Women’s World Cup in France this year.

Critics say the women will still end up with a much smaller share and that the teams should share the same percentage of a total prize money pool.

Norway bounces Australia in PKs to reach World Cup quarters

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Norway needed 120 minutes and penalty kicks to do it, but the Grasshoppers topped Australia to join Germany as the first two nations to reach the quarterfinals of the 2019 Women’s World Cup on Saturday.

[ MORE: All of PST’s Women’s World Cup coverage ]

Same Kerr went inches from giving Australia a dream start and putting the Matildas ahead inside 25 seconds. After timing her run perfectly to split the Norwegian defense, she cut inside and pulled her right-footed shot just wide.

[ MORE: Germany handles Nigeria, books quarterfinal spot ]

Norway went ahead with a flawlessly taken goal in the 31st minute. Karina Saevik played one of the best 40-yard through balls we’ll see all summer, and that put Isabell Herlovsen one-on-one against the goalkeeper as she raced into the box. Her right-footed finish was strong and full of conviction, just inside the near post, to ripple the back of the net.

Australia were briefly awarded a penalty and a chance to draw level in the 42nd minute, as Maria Thorisdottir was initially deemed to have played the ball with her upper arm on a cross by Kerr. However, upon video review, the referee reversed her call and Norway were let off the hook.

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Australia were again on the wrong side of a crucial — and correct — refereeing decision in the 60th minute. Kerr deftly placed the ball in the back of the net after a nearly catastrophic error at the back by Norway, but she was spotted in an offside position during Australia’s quick transition from defending to possession, and the flag went up.

Australia left themselves in limbo until the 83rd minute, when Elise Kellond-Knight scored what was almost certainly an unintentional Olimpico goal after everyone the box — Aussies and Norwegians alike — were unable to get a touch on the tantalizing curler.

Australia was reduced to 10 players in the final seconds of the first period of extra-time. Alanna Kennedy was sent off for dragging Caroline Graham Hansen down by her shirt, denying what the referee deemed to be an obvious goal-scoring opportunity, despite the goalkeeper being quick off her line to challenge for the through ball.

Despite a handful of heart-stopping chances for both sides, neither side was able to break through in extra-time, forcing the first penalty shootout of the knockout rounds.

Norway converted all four of their spot kicks, while Kerr sent hers well wide and high in the first round. Ingrid Hjelmseth then proceeded to deny Emily Gielnik one round later to give the Norwegians an insurmountable lead and a place in the quarterfinals.

Watch Live: 2019 Women’s World Cup – Group C finale

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The 2019 Women’s World Cup continues on Tuesday, as the final two games take place in Group C with some heavyweight nations still not assured of a last 16 spot.

[ MORE: Women’s World Cup news ] 

Italy have won both of their games so far in Group C, and a point against Brazil in Valenciennes will see them top the group and set up a more favorable path through the knockout rounds. After they let a 2-0 lead slip to lose to Australia last time out, Brazil really need a big win to set them up for the knockout rounds and to guarantee their place in the last 16 but a point will be enough.

Australia are heavily favored against Jamaica but the CONCACAF nation have shown plenty of spirit so far in their debut tournament as they’ve dug deep defensively. The Matildas know a draw will guarantee their spot in the last 16 of the tournament but a morale-boosting win for Sam Kerr and Co. is what the doctor ordered.

You can watch every single game from the tournament live online in Spanish via Telemundo Deportes and via the NBC Sports App. All you have to do is click on the links below.

[ LIVE: Watch every single 2019 Women’s World Cup game ]

Here is your full schedule for Tuesday, June 18 at the Women’s World Cup.


2019 Women’s World Cup schedule

Group C: Jamaica v. Australia – 3 p.m. ET – STREAM LIVE
Group C: Italy v. Brazil – 3 p.m. ET – STREAM LIVE

Women’s World Cup: Australia’s comeback, China back on track

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A roundup of Thursday’s action at the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France…

[MORE: Women’s World Cup news ]

Australia 3-2 Brazil — FULL RECAP

Australia’s 3-2 comeback victory over Brazil is an early contender for game of the tournament — for some very good reasons, as well others not so great.

First, the good:

  • By scoring the game’s opening goal — a penalty kick in the 27th minute (WATCH HERE) — Marta made history by becoming the first player (man or woman) to score a goal at five different World Cups, beginning all the way back in 2003. It was the 111th goal of her international career.
  • Cristiane made it 2-0 by scoring her fourth goal of the tournament just 11 minutes later (WATCH HERE). Brazil looked to have turned the clock back, while Australia were yet to even show up.
  • The Matildas sprang to life just before halftime, when Caitlin Foord pulled a goal back to make it 2-1.

  • Chloe Logarzo made it 2-2 by applying the deftest of finishes from the tightest of angles in the 58th minute.

Then, it all went a bit haywire. The Laws of the Game surrounding active and passive players in offside positions are horrifically murky and left up to the interpretation of the referee, which means the video-review decision made on Australia’s 58th-minute winner (WATCH HERE) was correct, by the book, but so horribly wrong in the spirit of the game.

After two games played, Brazil and Australia sit first and third, respectively, in Group C with three points each. To the surprise of many, it’s Italy who could go top of the group and secure at least a third-place spot in the knockout rounds with a victory over Jamaica on Friday (12 p.m. ET).


South Africa 0-1 China

China picked up its first points of the tournament, following an opening defeat to Germany, to move level with Spain in the race for second place in Group B.

Li Ying scored the game’s only goal in the 40th minute, a superb sliding finish to redirect Zhang Rui’s curling diagonal ball into the box.

China and Spain will meet in the final game of group play on Monday (12 p.m. ET), with a (likely) guaranteed place in the knockout rounds on the line.


Friday’s Women’s World Cup schedule

Japan v. Scotland — 9 a.m. ET
Jamaica v. Italy — 12 p.m. ET
England v. Argentina — 3 p.m. ET

Who are this year’s World Cup dark horses?

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There’s no doubt that there are three legitimate favorites to win the 2019 Women’s World Cup; Host France, Germany, and of course, the U.S. Women’s National Team.

Behind them are a second tier of teams who could push those three for the title, including England, Japan and even Brazil if they put everything together.

[MORE: Full 2019 World Cup schedule, live streams]

But who are the dark horses, teams that could really surprise a few and make a deep run in the tournament? Let’s take a closer look, below.


Netherlands

Winners of the 2017 European Championships, the Netherlands are looking to make a splash at this year’s World Cup. It wasn’t until the mid-2000s that the Netherlands really started to invest in their women’s team (with the creation of the professional women’s Eredivisie in 2007), and it’s starting to pay dividends.

The Netherlands qualified for its first World Cup in 2015 and fell in the knockout round to eventual finalists Japan, but the team features some of the most talented players in the world. They’re led by former World Player of the Year and Barcelona midfielder Lieke Martens, while 22-year-old Vivianne Miedema has scored 45 international goals. Miedema, one of four Arsenal players in this Netherlands squad, scored 22 goals for the Gunners this past season in just 20 Women’s Super League games. Another former club teammate, Dominique Bloodworth, just signed with Wolfsburg after appearing more than 100 times for Arsenal.

Captain and goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal, also at Arsenal, has taken the position from veteran Loes Geurts and it will be interesting to see how van Veenendaal does as the new No. 1.

The Netherlands combines a strong and young squad, but a they’ll have to wait until the final group stage match to know what their road to the final will look like. Should they beat Canada and win the group, they’ll likely face either England or Japan in the Round of 16. If they finish as runners-up, the Netherlands could face the U.S. Women’s National Team or Sweden. Either way, it’s likely a tough start to the knockout round. However, this Netherlands team looks up to the challenge.

Canada

The other favorites to get out of Group E, Canada is one of the most experienced squads at this World Cup and it’s likely the last World Cup for legendary striker and national team captain, Christine Sinclair. The 35-year-old has scored more than 180 international goals and could look to break Abby Wambach’s international record of 184 international goals at this World Cup, especially if Canada makes a deep run.

Along with Sinclair, the team features veterans Sophie Schmitt and Desiree Scott, but there’s also a youth movement in the squad. Rising star, forward Jordyn Huitema, already has more than 20 caps and is still only 18 years old, while fellow teenagers Jayde Riviere and Julia Grosso also made the team.

It’s a squad that’s going to rely heavily on defending with Lyon’s Kadeisha Buchanan and Orlando Pride’s Shelina Zadorsky taking big roles at centerback. But with Huitema available off the bench for some pace up top, and Sinclair’s goalscoring ability, this team could surprise a few and make another deep run, just like at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.


Australia

Another team with one of the world’s best strikers, captain Sam Kerr may be the best in the world at her position. The 25-year-old split time between the Chicago Red Stars – scoring six goals in six games – as well as Perth Glory, with 17 goals in 13 games, so she’s clearly one of the most in-form strikers on the globe.

Lisa de Vanna could start or come off the bench in her fourth World Cup, while a mostly young backline will look to keep opponents off the board, including right back Ellie Carpenter of the Portland Thorns.

The team also interestingly features 16-year-old forward Mary Fowler, who has already made four appearances off the bench.

Australia will have a tough road into the knockout round, with Italy, Brazil and Jamaica in Group C, but if the Matildas can make it out of there, they’ll be in good shape moving forward and battle tested. The Matildas can go as far as Sam Kerr can take them, and if she keeps scoring, they can certainly go far.