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Australia beat France on penalties to reach World Cup semi-finals

Co-hosts Australia reached the Women’s World Cup semi-finals for the first time by beating France 7-6 on Saturday in an incredible penalty shootout to set up a meeting with Colombia or England.

There was little to choose between the two teams on a tense night in Brisbane, with the quarter-final ending 0-0 after 120 minutes of stalemate.

Substitute Cortnee Vine turned out to be the hero for the Matildas, scoring the decisive penalty in the sudden-death shootout to send the home fans into delirium.

Australian skipper and talismanic striker Sam Kerr came off the bench in the second half to a huge reception.

But she was unable to sway the match and the French were actually the better team in extra time, with the Matildas hanging on by the end of a gruelling 120 minutes.

They went to penalties and after one miss each, Kerr stepped up to make it 2-2.

Both sides scored again and it was effectively sudden death.

Amazingly, they went all the way to 6-6, but both missed again.

Vicki Becho then fluffed her attempt for France and Vine sealed history for Australia.

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