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Twelve-year victory drought at women´s World Cup ends for Aussies

12 September 2007 13:50

HANGZHOU, China (AFP) - Australia scored their first World Cup win in 10 attempts here on Wednesday, ending a 12-year drought with an emphatic 4-1 victory over Ghana.

Striker Sarah Walsh opened the scoring after 15 minutes which gave the Matildas a 1-0 edge in an evenly balanced first half.

After the break superior pace and fitness paid off with two goals from second-half substitute Lisa De Vanna (57 and 81) and another from Heather Garriock in the 69th minute.

Ghana's exciting 18-year-old striker Anita Amankwa fired one back for the Black Queens in the 70th minute.

Ghana had taken points from Australia in 1999 and 2003 but they struggled to subdue the pacy Walsh and it was after two earlier near misses that the 24-year-old broke the deadlock, firing left-footed off the inside of the post.

She then teed up De Vanna to double Australia's lead and the outcome was settled when Heather Garriock headed home the pick of Australia's goals.

The Matildas have played in three World Cups before -- in 1995, 1999 and 2003 -- but have failed to get beyond the group stage, a dismal record that they want to fix.

Their form in the lead up has been good, and their first ever win will boost confidence.

"I was just delighted with the result and the performance," said Australia's Scottish-born coach Tom Sermanni. "It certainly eased the pressure on the team and the coach.

"I think it will boost our confidence and it was a combination of the win and the performance because Ghana are a good side and they had a lot of possession.

"We defended well and I think we created a lot of chances. So I think we came away with a lot of positives tonight."

Norway, ranked fourth in the world, and Canada, ranked ninth, are also in Group C and are favourites to pass into the knockout round ahead of Australia, who are 15th in the FIFA rankings.

The lowest ranked team in the current tournament at 47, Ghana have appeared in two previous World Cups without getting beyond the group stage.

Sermanni said that the next hurdle against Norway on Saturday would be a difficult one for the Australians, but he predicted that the crucial tie would come against Canada in the final group game on September 19.

"Tonight's win puts us in a position where we will be involved in the group all the way through," he said.

"Even if we lose the next game we will still have a chance to qualify in the last game."

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