Matildas fall to Sweden
Australia's gallant run at the FIFA Women's World Cup has come to an end with a 3-1 loss to Sweden in Sunday's quarter-final in Augsburg.
Slack defending proved the Matilda's downfall as it conceded two goals in the first 16 minutes with Therese Sjogran (11') and Lisa Dahlkvist each unmarked inside the Australian penalty area to give the Swedes a flying start.
Ellyse Perry revitalised Australia's hopes five minutes prior to half-time with a stunning, curling shot into the top corner of the goal, after receiving a short corner on the edge of the box.
The Matildas started the second half well, but gave themselves a mountain to climb by committing a defensive howler in the 52nd minute.
Sweden striker Lotta Schelin pounced on a loose back pass from centre half Kim Carroll, pushed the ball around Australian goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri and pushed it into an unguarded net.
The Matildas refused to crumble and mounted several attacks and created a number of chances.
Kyah Simon headed just wide, fellow striker Lisa De Vanna also went close and substitute Tameka Butt had a header and shot on target.
Sweden also went in search of more goals in the final half hour, but the Australian defence held.
Matildas coach Tom Sermanni made two changes to his team, bringing in Perry and Emily Van Egmond for Clare Polkinghorne and Samantha Kerr.
It was a chequered night for Australian World Cup cricket representative and Matildas' right back Perry, who was beaten down her side in the lead-up to both of Sweden's first two goals.
In the first instance, Sjogran had time to control the cross and fire in a shot which Barbieri couldn't stop at her near post.
Eight minutes later, Dahlkvist rose unchallenged to head home from close range.
Australia struggled to get a foothold for around 20 minutes after Sweden went 2-0 up, but the Europeans didn't create any other meaningful chances.
The Matildas gradually clawed their way back into the match in the last 10 minutes of the half.
Midfielder Collette McCallum threatened from set pieces. Her 40 metre free kick in the 38th minute almost caught out the Swedish goalkeeper, who watched the audacious attempt just miss the target.
McCallum's short corner to Perry produced the goal that gave Australia hope.
The multi-talented youngster controlled the ball with her right boot and curled the ball in from the extreme right-hand edge of the area with her non-preferred left foot.
Perry and Van Egmond, were replaced by Butt and Polkinghorne just before the hour, while McCallum gave way Sally Shipard with just over ten minutes left.
Australia line-up: Barbieri; Perry (Butt 59'), Carroll, Uzunlar, Kellond-Knight; Foord, McCallum (Shipard 79'), Van Egmond (Polkinghorne 58'), Garriock; Simon, De Vanna.
Sermanni said he was proud of the way his team played during spells of the game, but admitted mistakes proved costly as his side let Sweden off the hook by gifting it the third goal.
"I think we were until we made another mistake and you can't make mistakes at this level.
"When you consider the goals we've given up in this tournament and the way that they've done that, I think we've done extremely well to get where we've got to.
"But you can't be a winning team and defend well for 90 per cent of the time and give opposition easy goals."
Perry, who was part of the winning Australian team at last year's T20 cricket World Cup, downplayed her goal and admitted some responsibility for Sweden's first two goals.
"I think I was just in the right place at the right time," Perry said of her goal.
"It was nice to get a goal there because they obviously scored those first two goals from plays down my side of there field, so I kind of felt like I owed the team a little bit.
"It was lovely to put one in the back of the net, especially being a defender it doesn't happen too often," added Perry, who scored her third goal in 16 internationals.
Sweden will now take on Japan in a semi-final meeting in Frankfurt on Wednesday (Thursday 4.45am AEST).