The Paramatildas have fallen at the final hurdle in the 2022 IFCPF Women’s World Cup, losing the World Cup Final 4-2 to the United States on Tuesday night.
After losing to the same opponents a few days earlier, the green and gold looked to exact revenge on the Americans, with the same starting five selected by coach Kelly Stirton from their previous outing.
The United States, with their confidence high, started strongest, with a number of shots flying over Paramatildas goalkeeper Katelyn Smith’s goal.
Despite having to defend through the early stages of the game, the Paramatildas had long since weathered when they gained the advantage, an Eloise Northam strike from inside her own penalty area sending the Australian bench into a state of elation.
The Paramatildas held the advantage heading into the break but relinquished it shortly after, a long ball from goalkeeper Emily Lauritsen looped over the Australian defence, allowing Annie Wickett to latch onto the ball and equalise.
Two minutes later, the USA had turned the game on its head, as the ball ricocheted off the shin of Catarina Guimaraes and found substitute Jesslyn Kuhnel, who rifled the ball past Smith to complete the turnaround.
An injury to star goalkeeper Lauritsen then presented Australia with a lifeline, which they duly took advantage of, as goalscorer turned goalkeeper Annie Wickett inadvertently carried Katelyn Smith’s clearance over the goal line to bring the game back level.
While both teams pushed to find a winner in regulation, neither could, as the game was sent into extra time.
While the Paramatildas dreamed of a fairytale ending to the tournament, it never came, Kuhnel notching her brace after a shot from range was parried following a deflection, allowing the American to tap the ball home.
Australia looked to try and create an equaliser, and almost did when a long throw into the area was spilled by Wickett, but the Paramatildas could not scramble the ball home.
Moments later, the Americans secured gold, a first-time effort from Emma Martin squirming under Smith to make the USA world champions, leaving the Paramatildas with silver.
While the Paramatildas ultimately did not get the result they were after, they will leave Spain having inspired many, as all abilities football got the telling advertisement it deserved, thanks to the first class of Paramatildas who wore the green and gold with pride.