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Bonansea inspires 'incredible' Italy return, Cristiane beats Reggae Girlz

BeSoccer by BeSoccer @besoccer_com - 0 274

Pin Barbara Bonansea scored an injury-time winner as Italy beat Australia
Barbara Bonansea scored an injury-time winner as Italy beat Australia

Bonansea inspires 'incredible' Italy return, Cristiane beats Reggae Girlz

BeSoccer by BeSoccer @besoccer_com - 0 274

Barbara Bonansea ensured Italy made a dramatic return to the Women's World Cup after a 20-year absence on Sunday with a stoppage-time winner that gave her team a last-gasp victory over tournament dark horses Australia.

Juventus' Bonansea popped up at the back post to head home the winner having already levelled for the dogged Italians, putting the Azzurre second in Group C, level on three points with Brazil after a Cristiane hat-trick inspired them to a 3-0 thumping of Jamaica in Grenoble.

"What can I say, it's incredible, and scoring with my head as well, which never happens with me," said Bonansea, who scored Italy's first two World Cup goals in two decades.

"It's so wonderful. I hope we can qualify for the knockout stage because these two goals are meant to help us do just that."

The Australians, tipped by many to have a big impact in France, had taken a first-half lead through hotshot Sam Kerr, but were sloppy at the back and allowed Bonansea to score two cheap goals.

The 27-year-old bagged her first after pouncing on Clare Polkinghorne letting the ball run away from her under no pressure, while her last-gasp winner came when a floated free-kick -- won in an attempt to run down the clock -- sailed past gawping defenders and keeper Lydia Williams.

She was even close to a hat-trick of her own. Her eighth-minute strike was ruled out for the tightest of offsides following a long check via the video assistant referee (VAR) system, the first of two Italy goals scrubbed off for offside.

Italy thought their chance to snatch the points had gone when Daniela Sabatino's slotted finish was ruled out for offside with nine minutes remaining, but Bonansea stepped up to make their return to the World Cup an ecstatic one.

The win gives Italy a great chance of sealing qualification when they take on Jamaica on Friday, although Bonansea warded against complacency.

"Maybe they're a bit less organised (than Australia), but they're physically very strong and aggressive, and we need to play in the same way we did today," she said.

- Cristiane stars for Brazil -

In Grenoble, Brazil's Cristiane started in place of Marta, who had not recovered from a thigh injury, and fired three goals to ensure her side didn't miss their star attacker.

The 34-year-old, collecting her 139th cap, headed in the opener after 15 minutes, scooped a rebound over the line five minutes after the break and capped her treble with a fine free-kick that curled in off the underside of the bar just past the hour.

Jamaica offered little resistance, and although their pace sometimes troubled the opposing defence, Brazil could have won by more

Reggae Girlz goalkeeper Sydney Schneider made a string of good saves including a fine stop of Andressa's weak 38th-minute penalty.

Formiga controlled midfield in her opening appearance at a record seventh World Cup, in which she became at 41 years and 98 days the oldest woman to play in the competition.

England open their World Cup campaign with a Group D derby against Scotland in the day's late game.

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