Aussie coach regrets missed opportunity

London: Australian coach Tom Sermanni expressed his regret as his young side narrowly failed to topple footballing superstars Brazil in their women`s World Cup opener.

A 57th-minute goal from Brazilian midfielder Rosana ensured all three points for the 2007 runners-up, who were pushed hard by the new-look Australian side in their Group D tie.

"Against Brazil, one of the best in the world, we were more than able to hold our own," said Sermanni.

"Brazil sat back in the first half and underestimated our ability.”

"I`m disappointed we had a couple of chances to equalise in the final minutes," added the Scottish coach.

"The teams were quite evenly matched."

Much has changed in the Australia set-up since their career-best run to the World Cup quarter-finals four years ago, when they fell 3-2 to Brazil.

This year`s squad has 13 World Cup debutantes, with nearly half the squad aged 20 or under.

And Sermanni said that the team had especially worked on individual marking to block key players like five-time World Player of the Year Marta.

"I`m very pleased with the way we defended against Marta," said Sermanni.

"I don`t know if she had a shot at goal today. That is how good our defense was."

Australian skipper Melissa Barbieri expressed her pride at the spirit shown by the young team.

"I think we played very exciting football. We didn`t stand back and watch Brazil play," said the 31-year-old Melbourne Victory player.

"We came here to play good quality attacking football and it`s our aim to do that regardless of how far we go in the tournament."

"I`m proud of the girls determination to show what Australian football is all about. I`m disappointed in letting one through, but on to the next game."

Brazil coach Kleiton Lima said they had not been surprised by the level of play shown by the Matildas.

"We were expecting that," said Lima.

"Australia is a young team, very fast and in very good shape. I know Tom Sermanni and knew he has done done a very good technical job with the team."

Australian next play Equatorial Guinea on Sunday while Brazil play former champions Norway.

Bureau Report

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