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Pan America football adventure ends

Posted: 03-Jan-2012 by Maccabi National

4-0 to Argentina wasn’t the way it was supposed to end for our Australian womens football team, but it should not take the gloss off the girls’ efforts in Sao Paulo. In making the bronze medal play-off, they were competitive in spades in every single match, and importantly, have made giant strides as they target Israel in 2013.

Once again, the match was there for the taking at the half-time interval. Only a penalty separated the sides on the scoresheet - but very little was splitting the girls in all other areas. Yet in a repeat of yesterday’s mistake, the girls conceded within minutes of the start of the second period, making it difficult to mount a comeback.

There can be no doubting the girls' effort; in fact, the start was arguably their best in the whole tournament. The tempo was up, passes were crisp and sticking and they were flying in, winning every 50/50 challenge. There was terrific spirit and intensity.

Deena Metz was showing great touch and was combining well with the hard-working Lani Kahn down the left, Laura Waltman was probing around up front and it didn’t take long for Naomi Mossenson to re-acquaint with Argentina’s No.9, and she chased her out of the game once again.

Despite the great start by the Aussie girls, most of the match was played between the penalty areas. A half-chance to Tal Karp, and an effort from Alice Kriesler, that flashed wide of the uprights, were the only two attempts on goal the girls had to show for their efforts.

Then, unfortunately, a momentary lapse in defence allowed Argentina into the box in a 3 on 2 situation, and the South American striker was felled in a challenge, and the penalty was converted.

 

After conceding an early second-half goal via an excellent driving finish from Argentina’s striker, the girls threw themselves forward in a desperate bid to grab the bronze medal they so coveted.

Karp was winning header after header from the glut of corners Australia were earning, and she was also testing the keeper with long-range efforts from all over the pitch. Unfortunately, none of them rattled the back of the net; the closest coming from a beautiful strike that was tipped over the bar.

There were a lot of positives for the Aussies. Raphael Waltman was winning everything that came her way, be it in the air or on the ground; Gemma Adelaman put herself about all match in midfield, as did full-back Terri Lazarus, while Amy Seskin continued to command her area, battling on bravely despite a shoulder complaint. 

But two late strikes added salt to the wound. Australia were chasing the match, but it was Argentina who celebrated their medal with a couple of goals in the dying stages.

Six games in seven days has been a huge test for the small, injury-affected Aussie squad. They never stopped trying, and have enjoyed a terrific ride on the way to their fourth-placed finish. 

 
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