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Australia finishes second in Tournament of Nations with win over Japan

Australia wrapped up the Tournament of Nations today by taking revenge on Japan, who beat Australia in this year’s Asian Cup. A storied rivalry was intensified with the Tournament of Nations title on the line.

The Houston Dash’s Kyah Simon and Clare Polkinghorne earned the start for the big match. Polkinghorne logged 29 minutes for the Matildas while Simon played a full 90, subbing off in stoppage time.

Japan was the more dominant attacking side in the first half, testing Australia’s backline often, but never finding the back of the net. Despite the opportunities for Japan, Australia’s defense was able to keep the score at 0-0 by the time they entered the locker room.

The match switched around in the second half for Australia. After being awarded a free kick just outside the box, defender Alanna Kennedy was able to put Australia up 1-0 in the 47th minute. Australia’s attack came alive throughout the second half. As Japan pushed up to find an equalizer, Australia’s attack were able to find plenty of spaces behind the back. Simon sent a long ball over the top of Japan’s defense for Sam Kerr, who quickly beat her defenders as well as the keeper to secure a 2-0 lead for Australia in the 81st minute.

Australia locked down on defense after Kerr’s goal. They held off any of Japan’s attempts for the remainder of the match to seal the victory. With their win, Australia claims second place at the 2018 Tournament of Nations. The United States takes the title with a 4-1 win over third-place Brazil. Japan finish last with no points.

Simon and Polkinghorne return to NWSL action this weekend as the Houston Dash host Utah Royals FC on Sunday, August 5th.