After finding her rhythm, however, the Matildas No.10 took control of the midfield battle, creating a few late chances.
"We need to be a little bit more fearless and composed on the ball".
"We need to quickly regroup and focus on the Brazil game".
And in the fifth minute of stoppage time, Bonansea nodded in a cross at the back post to stun Australia and give Italy the flawless start. Australia were strong but we didn't do ourselves justice. "Maybe that calmed us down a bit so we were able to play the way we know how".
Bonansea from Juventus found the back of net just 9 minutes into the game but was flagged offside.
Australia, seeded for the first time at the World Cup, were favourites at the Stade du Hainaut but a ninth-minute blunder turned out to a harbinger.
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While the loss isn't terminal for the Matildas' hopes of being a contender in France, they now require a result in their second match with Brazil in four days time.
Having won the spot-kick, Kerr stepped up to take it and though having her initial effort saved to the left of goal, she was able to calmly slot home the rebound to give the Matildas the lead.
Sam Kerr is the best striker at the Women's World Cup.
Then came Polkinghorne's 56th-minute blunder, which allowed Italy to equalise.
Italy kept the pressure on and could not be held back in injury time, securing a result to send the blue-clad fans among 15,380 in attendance into raptures.