CHENGDU, China (AFP) - Australia came from behind twice to scramble a 2-2 draw with Canada and book a place in the quarter-finals of the women's World Cup for the first time on Thursday.
Captain Cheryl Salisbury fired home a 92nd minute equaliser to cancel out a goal from Canadian skipper Christine Sinclair that came five minutes from the end of regulation time and looked like the match winner.
Appearing in her 103rd match, Sinclair scored in the 85th-minute to put the Canadians 2-1 up and within reach of a quarter-final spot.
It was a sickening blow that Australian coach Tom Sermanni thought would prove fatal.
"We stopped playing the way we usually play in the second half and when they scored late I thought the game was all over," he said.
"My players showed a lot of character and resilience, though, and I was so pleased when that final goal fell in.
"It was a very long 90 minutes."
That crucial equaliser fell to the boot of central defender Salisbury with Australia's last surge of the game.
The point earns Australia the second qualifying spot and a quarter-final in Tianjin on Sunday.
Norway took top spot in Group C following their 7-2 win against already eliminated Ghana.
Australia beat Ghana 4-1 in their opening game last week for their first World Cup win in 12 years then drew 1-1 with former world champions Norway.
Canada lost 2-1 to Norway in their opener but beat Ghana 4-0 in their second tie.
The Canadians were 1-0 up with just 32 seconds of the match gone after Melissa Tancredi shot cleanly past Australian 'keeper Melissa Barbieri in their first attack of the game.
Australia had to wait for the equaliser but were back on level terms with a superb free-kick from midfield general Collette McCallum after 53 minutes.
The Australians, who have been eliminated in the first round of the last three World Cups, were looking sharper and more dangerous throughout the match.
But it was Canada, semi-finalists four years ago, who went ahead through captain Sinclair's brilliant header with just five minutes to go.
It was the Canadian captain's third goal of the tournament and 84th for her country. But her opposite number Salisbury had the last word with her last-gasp strike levelling the score at 2-2.
Canada's Norwegian coach Even Pellerud said his side had dominated the second half but allowed Australia one last fatal chance.
"We gave the Aussies too much possession in the first half and this proved to be a mistake as they improved as the game went on," he said
"We hesitated on the ball deep into stoppage time and allowed them one last chance and they took full advantage of it."
Prior to the match the sides had met 13 times, sharing honours with six wins and a draw.
|UEFA Europa League Review: Tottenham in late turnaround, Astra shock Lyon|
|League Two Preview: Morecambe, Burton out to continue fast starts|
|Sassuolo 4 Cittadella 1: Second-half rally sees Sassuolo into Coppa fourth round|
|Howard to take US sabbatical|
|Lokeren 1 Hull City 0: McGregor error gifts Belgians victory|
|Rwanda given Wednesday hearing for disqualification appeal|
|Pochettino hails substitutes´ impact|
|Mackay apologises over text message scandal|
|Brandao suspended over Motta incident|
|Borussia Dortmund v Bayer Leverkusen: Klopp expecting tough start|
|QPR complete loan deal for Vargas|
|League One Preview: Fleetwood, Preston face home tests|
|Chelsea v Leicester City: Schurrle expecting Chelsea improvement|
|Southampton v West Brom: Koeman wary of Albion|
|AEL 1 Tottenham 2: Late turnaround gives visitors play-off edge|
|CAF Confederation Cup: Al Ahly, Nkana out to reach last four|
|Swansea City v Burnley: Monk expecting stern examination|
|Bender close to Leverkusen return|
|Morocco will host Club World Cup despite Ebola concerns - FIFA|
|Schneiderlin not allowed to leave, insists Koeman|
|Dyche confident Burnley can strengthen|
|West Brom eye Samaras signing|
|Aston Villa v Newcastle United: Lambert wants more Weimann goals|
|MLS Preview: Sounders look to bounce back at Portland, Johnson banned for DC|
|Klose eyes European football|
|Monk warns Swansea over complacency|
|De Jong set for Newcastle return|
|Crystal Palace v West Ham: No excuses from Millen|
|Pearson looking for Chelsea indication|
|Blanc wants Rabiot to stay|
|Bowyer reveals Hull approach for Rhodes|
|Atletico out to gatecrash Barca, Real party once again|
|Barcelona go back to the future|
|CSL Preview: Beijing Guoan, Dalian Aerbin hit the road|
|Westwood returns to Ireland squad|
|Millen confident on Palace job prospects|
|Pedro struck down by gastroenteritis|
|Championship Preview: Magath preaches patience, Ipswich host East Anglian derby|
|Ribery not ready for Bayern return - Guardiola|
|Ancelotti: Di Maria has asked to leave|
|Moody resigns from Palace post|
|Everton v Arsenal: Martinez denies Everton have advantage|
|Coventry agree Ricoh return|
|Allardyce eyes defensive improvements|
|FA to investigate Cardiff dossier|
|Simeone not expecting to retain title|
|Balotelli bids farewell to Milan team-mates|
|Wenger open to signings after Arteta blow|
|Martinez to wait on Kone, Oviedo before considering late signings|
|Ocampos believes in Jardim´s methods|
|Villas-Boas calls for Zenit focus|
|Jovetic predicts bright future at City|
|Hamren hoping for quick Ibrahimovic recovery|
|Van Gaal retains focus on team ethic|
|Martinez calls for Everton consistency|
|Oxlade-Chamberlain: Arsenal´s best will come|
|Benaglio retires from Swiss duty|
|MLS Review: Galaxy stun Rapids, Sounders held|
|CONCACAF Champions League Review: MLS clubs shine|
|Panama 4 Cuba 0: Hosts finally win|
|K. League Preview: In-form Jeonbuk out to increase advantage|
|Copa Sudamericana Review: Penarol poised to advance, General Diaz on track|
|Liga MX Preview: America target another win|
|J.League Preview: In-form Kashima, Tokyo face tests|
|Fresh faces in Australia squad|
|Copa Argentina Review: River Plate, Estudiantes des Caseros reach quarters|
|Girard rues wasteful Lille|
|Scholes: ´I am scared for United´|
|Patient Inter got just rewards - Mazzarri|
|UEFA Europa League Review: Inter win in Iceland|
|UEFA Champions League Play-offs Review: Away sides prosper in play-off first legs|
|Fulham 0 Wolves 1: Sako inflicts more misery on hosts|
|Bundesliga Preview: Klopp set to break record as Dortmund host Leverkusen|
|Bruce reveals Aboubakar interest|
|Kane ready to light up Premier League|
|Jerome joins Norwich|
|Bayern destined to dominate Bundesliga once again|
|Perfectionist Guardiola raises the bar|
|Pohang Steelers 0 Seoul 0: Last-eight tie on a knife edge|
|Rojo pens five-year deal at United|
|Bayern Munich v Wolfsburg: Badstuber wary of tough opening|
|Eredivisie Preview: Ajax and PSV lock horns in De Topper, Groningen face Den Haag|
|Ligue 1 Preview: Bordeaux and Saint-Etienne out to continue dream starts|
|Thai Premier League Review: 10-man Buriram survive Muang Thong test, BEC Tero defeated|
|QPR seal Fer capture|
|Modric aiming for further glory after extending deal|
|Dzeko pens new City deal|
|Marotta: Vidal was never for sale|
|Evian v Paris Saint-Germain: Champions wary of wounded hosts|
|Ulloa gains confidence from debut goal|
|Hamann hoping for competitive Bundesliga|
|Dortmund duo Kirch and Ji sidelined|
|Irvine will not rush Gamboa|
|Messi, Mascherano laud La Masia|
|Moses: Hughes reason for Stoke move|
|Lahm aware of Dortmund threat|
|Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid: Rodriguez targets winning goal after opening Real account|
|Wilshere urges focus for return leg|
|Milan: No Liverpool offer for Balotelli|
|Michu chat aided Fernandez switch|
|Western Sydney Wanderers 1 Guangzhou Evergrande 0: Tempers flare after Sydney triumph|
|Van der Vaart headlines Netherlands squad|
|CAF Champions League Preview: Dead rubbers brought to life by Zamalek appeal|
|UEFA open Tavecchio investigation|
|Napoli sign Villarreal´s De Guzman|
|My heart is at Bayern, insists Muller|
|Altidore at his happiest - Poyet|
|Barca to go to CAS after FIFA rejects appeal|
|Swansea confirm Fernandez signing|
|Leverkusen will not relax, says Schmidt|
|Modric pens new Real deal|
|Amat relishing Fernandez competition|
|Snodgrass out for six months|
|Di Maria is Real´s best - Simeone|
|Kompany hails City contract dealings|
|Higuain: Napoli have to qualify|
|Martinez backs Barkley to bounce back|
|Stjarnan ready to exploit Inter´s ´weaknesses´|
|No price-tag pressure for Liverpool´s Markovic|
|Courtois admits departure thoughts|
|Skrtel: Liverpool must defend ´as a group´|
|Duff predicts Chelsea success, ´worried´ for Fulham|
|CONCACAF Champions League Review: Portland shine in Guyana|
|Simeone: We have a ´50-50 chance´|
|Copa Sudamericana Review: Cerro Porteno win away, Huachipato start strongly|
|Ronaldo injury ´not serious´ - Ancelotti|
|Martino names Argentina squad|
|Supercopa ´still open´ - Alonso|
|Expect goals in Lille, Porto clash - Girard|
|Courtois wants Cech stay|
|Benitez backs Napoli to score|
|Real Madrid 1 Atletico Madrid 1: Ronaldo off at half-time as Real denied|
|League Two Review: Morecambe, Burton remain unbeaten, Portsmouth defeat Northampton|