Road to Tokyo 2020 - the journey so far
There are just two steps left on the road to Tokyo 2020 for the Westfield Matildas - so let's take a look back at the journey so far.
Australia are looking to qualify for their fourth Olympic Games football tournament and put themselves in the best possible position to be one of Asia's three representatives by winning their group in the 2020 AFC Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament Third Round.
A two-legged tie against Vietnam is all that remains for Ante Milicic's side to secure to their ticket to Tokyo.
Here is the story so far.
The journey to Tokyo
Australia received a bye for the first two rounds and learned their opponents for the third round of qualifying on 18 October, 2019, with the Green and Gold drawn in Group B alongside China PR, Thailand and Chinese Taipei.
The games were initially set to be played in Wuhan, China, but due to the outbreak of coronavirus, it was announced on January 26 that the four-team 2020 AFC Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament would be relocated to Sydney.
And so, the path to Tokyo began on February 7 in Australia's Harbour City.
Chinese Taipei provided the first opposition for the Westfield Matildas at Campbelltown Stadium.
It was seventh heaven for Australia, who kicked off qualification in style and stormed to the top of Group B as Caitlin Foord's 37-minute hat-trick stole the show in a 7-0 win.
Steph Catley, Hayley Raso, Sam Kerr and Katrina Gorry were also on the target as the Westfield Matildas leapfrogged China PR, 6-1 victors against Thailand earlier in the afternoon.
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Next up: Thailand.
Emily van Egmond's first hat-trick for Australia pushed the team another step closer to Tokyo 2020 with a 6-0 win.
The Novocastrian scored twice in the first half before sealing a treble in the second, as Kyah Simon and Raso chimed in with strikes of their own.
It was enough for the Westfield Matildas to retain pole position in Group B, following China PR's 5-0 defeat of Chinese Taipei.
China PR were next up for the Westfield Matildas in Parramatta and it appeared the visitors would leapfrog Australia into pole position after Tang Jiali's brilliant strike in the 86th minute.
But van Egmond lashed home a stunning stoppage time effort to ensure the Green and Gold finished the third round of 2020 AFC Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament top of the pile.
Milicic’s squad take on the world no.32 Vietnam over two legs in March, with the winner of the tie booking their ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Australia host the first leg in Newcastle on Friday, March 6 (kick-off 6.30pm AEDT), before the return match in Quảng Ninh Province five days later.
Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Play-Off
Australia v Vietnam (Home Leg)
Date: Friday, 6 March 2020
Kick-off: 6.30pm AEDT
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
Broadcast: Live on FOX SPORTS, Kayo Sports, ABC iview (delayed on ABC TV) and the My Football Live App
The match will also be streamed LIVE on YouTube for viewers outside of Australia and Vietnam
Vietnam v Australia (Away Leg)
Date: Wednesday, 11 March 2020
Kick-off: 6.00pm local; 10pm AEDT
Venue: Cẩm Phả Stadium, Cẩm Phả, Quảng Ninh Province, Vietnam
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