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May 15, 2011

De Vanna sacking dampens Matildas' win

Star striker Lisa De Vanna's expulsion from camp overshadowed the Matildas' last home international before next month's World Cup in Germany.

Coach Tom Sermanni indicated the rest of the squad may get a say in whether De Vanna is recalled for the World Cup campaign after his team battled to a 2-1 win over New Zealand in Gosford on Sunday.

It will be a big decision as De Vanna is a proven scorer who starred with four goals when Australia reached the 2007 World Cup quarter-finals and the Matildas have already lost leading striker Kate Gill to a serious knee injury.

De Vanna was sent back to her club in the United States on Sunday morning, just hours before the second international against New Zealand.

A Football Federation Australia statement shed little light, citing only an unspecified breach of team rules under its national code of conduct.

But it's understood she was dismissed following persistent team discipline issues during the week and Matildas coach Tom Sermanni said her attitude in camp had been unsatisfactory.

"We have the chance now to assess in a logical and less emotional light," said Sermanni.

"The key factor in making a decision will be what is ultimately in the best interests of the team, and to a degree the team may influence that decision.

"Right at this moment I'm not quite sure what the future is."

The Matildas struggled to back up their confident 3-0 win over the Football Ferns on Thursday.

They began well with Sydney FC forward Catherine Cannuli grabbing her first international goal in her second outing, heading home a Sam Kerr cross from close range.

But it only served to inspire the visitors who began to apply pressure and were rewarded with an equaliser in the 26th minute when striker Hannah Wilkinson converted from close range for their first goal against Australia in five meetings.

Australia started to find some cohesion late in the opening half of a fiery contest in front of 2,866 spectators, with Collette McCallum hitting the crossbar from a corner.

McCallum provided a moment of inspiration nine minutes after the interval to break the deadlock.

The scorer of one of the goals of the 2007 Women's World Cup curled a trademark free-kick inside the near post in the decisive moment of the match.

But the Matildas had to withstand some strong attack from the Kiwis in the closing stages.

"We made eight changes for this match so we certainly lost some rhythm for sure, and we haven't played a lot of international football and we were a bit rusty," said Sermanni.

"We also had some players coming back from injury, but on the positive side we were able to win despite not playing the way we wanted."

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