The Matildas got off to a great start in Tokyo with a 2-1 win over New Zealand.
Goals to Tameka Yallop and Sam Kerr in the first half ensured Australia won its opening group game at the Olympics for the first time, in its fourth Games.
Australia and New Zealand have a long history with the Matildas coming up against the Football Ferns in their very first ‘A’ international back in 1979. Since then, the teams have faced off 48 times.
The 2-1 scoreline at Tokyo Stadium saw Australia extend its undefeated run against New Zealand to 29 games which dates back to October 1994. In those 27 years, the Matildas have beaten the Football Ferns 26 times and drawn three.
Tameka Yallop’s opener highlighted some sensational one-touch football from the team with Kyah Simon’s clever header and Sam Kerr’s deft touch, setting up the goal.
It was Yallop’s first goal for Australia since July 2018 against Brazil, ending a run of 21 games with no goal for the national team.
Kerr added a goal to her assist marking the third occasion in 22 games where she has done both.
Her header in the 33rd minute also broke a scoreless run for the Matildas captain; it was her first goal in five games for the national team.
The match was highlighted by plenty of Olympic debuts. Mary Fowler, Kyra Cooney-Cross, and Emily Gielnik were all second-half substitutes earning their first minutes at a Games.
Tameka Yallop also got her first taste of Olympic action after being selected for Rio 2016, but not seeing any minutes.
Aivi Luik as the team’s oldest player put in a solid defensive shift on her Olympic debut. She won 92% of her duels including all five of her aerial battles and attempted the most passes in the game with 60.
Australia’s win puts it in a good position in Group G. Attention now turns to the exciting clash with Sweden on Saturday evening. The Swedes got the win in their opening game, putting three past the USA in a dominant performance.
While the Matildas and Sweden faced off only a month ago in a friendly, the scoreless draw on that day in Kalmar is unlikely to be repeated.
The Swedish side have their scoring boots on as do the Matildas. Australia has scored multiple goals in three of its last four games in the tournament, after never scoring more than one goal in any of their first eight games in the competition.