Carpenter makes strong World Cup debut for disappointing Matildas

Ellie Carpenter was one of Australia's best on Sunday.
Ellie Carpenter was one of Australia's best on Sunday.

The Matildas may have put up a disappointing display in the opening round of the Women's World Cup on Sunday in France, but Cowra's Ellie Carpenter was one of the shining lights in the 2-1 loss.

Carpenter, who played at right back, played full minutes in the match, and was instrumental in setting up the Australian's first and only goal, scored by skipper Sam Kerr in the game's 22nd minute.

It was only minor reward for Carpenter though, who co-ordinated and instigated many of the Matilda's most dangerous plays for little reward during the remainder of the game, albeit Hayley Raso also helped to wreak havoc with the Italian's defence early.

Additionally, while the Matildas controlled possession for long portions of the game, they failed to make the most of their opportunities, with only five of their 16 shots on target despite having possession for 64% of the game.

By contrast, as the game wore on, the Italian side, led by Sara Gama, who heavily marked Australia's skipper and striker Kerr, were increasingly able to halt and slow the attack of the world's number six team.

It meant that while the Italians only managed three on target shots from a miserly total of six attempts for the game, they caught an often undisciplined Australian defence off-guard in the second half, with Barbara Bonansea scoring in the 56th minute to level the game, and then again in injury time to give the Italians - the world's 15th ranked team - an unlikely victory.

The Australians will now turn their attention to the Brazil, who beat Jamaica 3-0 later this week on Friday in Montpellier.