In this article, we will relive the tournament, including Australia’s own involvement, as they aimed to make it past the quarter-final stage for the first time. The Matildas had reached the last eight in each of the last three tournaments and were eager to go a step further.
Australia were drawn in Group C, alongside Italy, Brazil and outsiders Jamaica. The top three would make it through to the knock-out stage of the competition and the Matildas were heavily fancied to challenge for top spot.
But the campaign didn’t start well. Samantha Kerr’s goal had handed the team a 22nd minute lead against Italy in game one, before back-to-back goals from Italy’s Barbara Bonansea, including a winner in the 95th minute, condemned Australia to defeat.
A response was required in game two and the team provided it with a hugely spirited display against Brazil. Trailing 2-0 after 38 minutes, Caitlin Foord handed the Matildas hope with a strike in first-half injury time, before Chloe Logarzo’s goal just before the hour levelled matters. Eight minutes later, an own goal from Monica would hand Australia an advantage the team wouldn’t relinquish.
With Jamaica having lost both games by large margins, Australia headed into the clash with the Caribbean nation knowing that anything but a heavy defeat would see them through. But the Matilda’s took no chances and an incredible four-goal show from Kerr blasted the Jamaicans out of the water. Australia qualified for the second round in second place, behind Italy.
Alanna Kennedy of #Australia celebrates following her side's 3-2 victory over #Brazil in the 2019 #FIFA Women's World Cup France group C match at Stade de la Mosson 📷: @ElsaGarrison #FIFAWWC #AUS #BRA pic.twitter.com/9NWF0lGcAb
— Getty Images Sport (@GettySport) June 13, 2019
The big win over Jamaica saw Australia head into the last 16 in confident mood, but their progress would sadly be halted. A tense 1-1 draw with Norway, which saw Elise Kellond-Knight hammer home a late equaliser, would be followed by a penalty shoot-out.
And misses from Kerr and Emily Gielnik would prove costly as the Scandinavians edged through, scoring four penalties from four attempts. The French adventure was over and the Matildas would have to settle for seeing out the rest of the tournament as spectators.
By this point in the tournament, the USA were truly justifying their tag as favourites, and it’s easy to see why the Americans are regularly heavily fancied in football betting markets ahead of major tournaments, but they were given a real work-out in the last 16 by Spain, requiring two Megan Rapinoe penalties to see off their opponents’ threat.
Elsewhere, Australia’s group rivals Italy progressed with victory against China while Brazil were beaten on penalties by hosts France. The Italians’ own tournament came to a premature end with defeat to the Netherlands in the next round, while the USA were again made to work hard by hosts France, battling to a second 2-1 win in as many matches.
England would face the USA and the Netherlands would take on Sweden at the semi-final stage. Goals from Christen Press and Alexandra Morgan helped the Americans to a third consecutive 2-1 win to book their place in the final, while the Dutch found an extra-time winner to see off Sweden.
The Swedes would bounce back with victory over England in a third-place play-off, but the main event was still to come as favourites USA prepared to face the Netherlands. And despite a spirited display from the underdogs, quickfire second-half goals from Rapinoe and Rosemary Lavelle proved decisive in securing a fourth American World Cup triumph since 1991.
She's won the World Cup, the golden boot and was named the Best Fifa Women's player for 2019.
Now you can vote for USA and Reign FC’s Megan Rapinoe as the BBC Women's Footballer of the Year 👉 https://t.co/oTNgUASQCZ
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) February 21, 2020
Commercially, the tournament was a major success, with a global audience of more than a billion helping to put international women’s football on the map. And the countdown is well and truly on ahead of the 2023 tournament, which will be held in Australia and New Zealand.