THESSALONIKI, Greece - After 17 years, the Matildas finally caught up to the U.S. women's soccer team. Joanne Peters 12-yard header in the 82nd minute
gave Australia a 1-1 tie Tuesday with the United States, breaking a 15-game Aussie losing streak that dates to the teams first meeting in 1987.
The Americans had already clinched a spot in the quarterfinals with 3-0 and 2-0 wins over Greece and Brazil, and the tie assured them first place in
their group. Their top seed guarantees they will stay in Thessaloniki for their next game on Friday.
Australia qualified for the quarterfinals with the tie, although they would have advanced anyway because of Brazil's win over Greece.
Kristine Lilly scored in the 19th minute for the Americans, who held Australia without a shot on goal until the final 30 minutes. But the game changed
when coach Adrian Santrac inserted a second attacker in the 62nd minute, and the Australians immediately turned on constant pressure that resulted in
Peters, who played for the WUSA's New York Power, beat Julie Foudy's mark and headed Heather Garriock's cross into the upper right hand corner of the
net for the first goal scored against the Americans in this tournament.
The goal energized what had been a humdrum game in a quiet Kaftanzoglio Stadium, where only a few thousand fans sat among 26,200 seats. The only sense
of atmosphere was supplied by three Australians in face paint, raising the familiar chant of "Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oy! Oy! Oy!" Even the fans who
arrived early for the men's game watched in silence, although a few did boo to cover up the occasional chant of "U-S-A" from the small contingent of
The U.S. goal came when Foudy chipped a cross from the right wing, just beyond the penalty area. Lilly, charging from the left, beat Danielle Small to
the ball with a sliding left-footed volley from five yards. Goalkeeper Cassandra Kell, with little time to react, could only deflect the shot with her
left hand, knocking it high and just under the crossbar.
The Americans played without forward Abby Wambach, who served a one-game rough-play suspension for receiving yellow cards in the first two games.
Wambach has scored 16 goals in her last 17 games. In Wambach's place, coach April Heinrichs started three-time Olympian Cindy Parlow.