The Matildas have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics

The Matildas have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics

The Matildas have qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games with a 2-1 win over Vietnam last night, played in front of an empty stadium.

The successful result comes off the back of their Newcastle win against the same team in the first leg of their playoff, where they secured a comfortable 5-0 win. 

Last night’s match took place at Cam Pha Stadium in the coastal province of Quảng Ninh in northeastern Vietnam, which was empty of spectators as the Vietnam Football Federation decided not to open ticket sales to the public due to coronavirus fears.

A power outage left the stadium and its players in the dark after the venue’s light went out 50 seconds after the opening whistle. Players waited for 20 minutes before play resumed.

Captain Samantha Kerr struck the frame of the goal on five minutes before scoring a goal on the quarter-hour mark, making it her 42nd goal in the green and gold and puts her in outright second as the Matildas’ leading goalscorer.

Hayley Raso secured the second goal on 26 minutes, tapping in a squared pass from her captain.

Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams said the team’s training and preparation have been relatively undisturbed so far. Earlier this week, she told the Herald and The Age  that the team must aim for the semi-finals in order to be regarded at the Tokyo Games as a successful tournament.

“We will always want to do better than previously,” Williams said. “Just qualifying is big for us, barring the last time for Rio, it took us three turns to try and get there. To qualify again will be amazing and actually going to Tokyo and performing there will be great. Obviously we want to get to medal chances.”

The Matildas are now joining New Zealand, Brazil, U.K, Netherlands, Sweden, Canada, the US, and Zambia as qualifying teams for the Olympics this year. As the hosting nation, Japan will be granted automatic berth.

This year’s qualification is the Matilda’s second successive Olympic Games, and their fourth overall. The last time both Australia’s men and women have both made it to an Olympic football tournament since 2004.

This year’s Olympic Women’s Soccer Tournament will be held between July 22 – August 8 across seven venues in six cities around Japan, although there have been suggestions that the Olympics will be postponed due to COVID-19.

The Matildas are set to fly to Vancouver for a friendly game against Canada on April 14.

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