From the W-League to the World Cup: how our stars are performing in France

The Matildas are far from alone in flying the W-League flag at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™.

Australia – who have 20 women who turned out in the W-League last season in their 23-player roster – kicked off their campaign with a heartbreaking late defeat to Italy last Sunday evening.

Ante Milicic’s side are joined in France by a host of other top-class internationals who lit up the W-League in 2018/19 – and are looking to do the same on the biggest stage of all.

Here’s your weekly wrap of the non-Australian W-League stars at the 2019 World Cup.

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Rachel Corsie (Scotland)

Rachel Corsie was involved in one of the World Cup’s most dramatic matches so far on Thursday morning, one which brought Scotland’s maiden journey on the world stage to a close after a 3-3 draw with Argentina.

The Scots were up 3-0 in their final Group D fixture and appeared headed for the knockout phase but conceded three times in the final sixteen minutes. And the South Americans snatched a draw with a last-gasp stoppage-time penalty from Florencia Bonsegundo – one which was retaken following a video assistant referee (VAR) intervention after ‘keeper Lee Alexander had saved the Argentinian’s initial effort.

“It’s tough. It’s bitterly disappointing,” Corsie said after the game.

“I’m so proud of the girls. Argentina were dead on their feet. We need to hold ourselves high and realise what we’ve done at this tournament. It’s been phenomenal.”

Corsie – a stalwart for Canberra United last Westfield W-League season – played all three Group D matches against England (2-1 loss), Japan (2-1 loss) and Argentina.

Rebekah Stott (New Zealand)

New Zealand were rocked by a stoppage-time Jill Roord goal in their Group E opener against the Netherlands, a match that captured the defensive pedigree of inaugural Melbourne City defender Rebekah Stott.

But despite the Football Ferns putting in an excellent first-up display against the reigning European champions, they were soundly beaten 2-0 by Canada in their next fixture, setting up a must-win fixture with Cameroon on Friday (AEST).

Stott played another full match for Tom Sermanni’s side who were pushing hard for a win when Aurelle Awona’s 80th-minute own goal drew them level with the Africans in Montpellier.

But pushing hard for the winning goal that could have sent them to the Round of 16, the Football Ferns were hit on the counter-attack in the fifth-minute of stoppage time as Ajara Nchout scored for Cameroon to break New Zealand hearts.

Refiloe Jane and Rhoda Mulaudzi (South Africa)

South African stars Refiloe Jane and Rhoda Mulaudzi were rewarded for an impressive Westfield W-League season for Canberra United by drawing a punishing Group B containing China, two-time champions Germany and world No. 13 Spain.

And while Banyana Banyana won many plaudits on their very first World Cup appearances, it was not simply meant to be for South Africans, who lost all three fixtures and finished bottom of the group.

Unlucky in their 3-1 opening defeat to Spain, Desiree Ellis’ team were shaded 1-0 in their next match with China, before going down 4-0 on Tuesday morning to Germany – a match that saw Mulaudzi handed her World Cup debut after she was deployed in the second half.

Jane, on the other hand, was an ever-present, playing a central midfield position against Spain and Germany and showing her versatility by performing in a wider role against China.

Maria Jose Rojas (Chile)

Left out for as Chile made their World Cup bow in a 2-0 defeat to Sweden last Wednesday, Rojas again watched from the bench as the South Americans were beaten 3-0 by World No. 1 USA in their second Group F fixture on Monday.

Rojas finally saw some minutes in Chile’s final group clash against Thailand on Friday, coming off the bench for the final few minutes in Rennes.

Needing a 3-0 win to advance to the Round of 16, the South Americans were 2-0 heading into the final few minutes when they were awarded a penalty.

But unfortunately for Chile Francisca Lara’s spot-kick cannoned onto the crossbar and out, meaning it finished 2-0 and they were eliminated.

World Cup France 2019™ – Round of 16 – Next Australia match

Norway v Australia
Date: Sunday, 23 June 2019 (AEST)
Venue: Stade de Nice, Nice
Kick-off: 5.00am AEST (9.00pm local time, Saturday 22 June)

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