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The Matildas face Sweden once again, this time for a spot in the Tokyo Olympics gold medal match, from 9pm (AEST) in Yokohama.
After making it through the group stage as one of the best third-placed teams, Australia is now guaranteed to play for a medal after overcoming Great Britain 4-3 in a dramatic quarter final.
A Sam Kerr double, the first to tie the scores late in regular time and the second to extend the Matildas’ lead to 4-2, plus Alanna Kennedy header and Mary Fowler strike, as well as some heroics from Teagan Micah in goal, set up the victory.
The Aussies and the Swedes were both drawn in Group G, with Sweden taking the honours on that occasion with a 4-2 win.
Just as the Matildas will be better for the experience, knowing what worked and what didn’t in that group stage match, so too will the team in yellow and blue know the strengths and weaknesses of Australia that little bit better.
Sweden’s run-in to this game has been flawless. Three wins in the group stage, highlighted by a 3-0 victory over the USA, were followed up with a 3-1 triumph over host nation Japan in the quarter finals.
Tony Gustavsson’s charges have experienced the full gamut of results, with wins over Team Great Britain and New Zealand, a draw with the USA, and that loss to Sweden.
There are some concerns over a few Australian players, with four games in 10 days, one of which went to extra time, taking a toll. Captain Sam Kerr was hobbling slightly in the latter stages against Great Britain, and is under an injury cloud heading into this crucial match.
She is one of four Matildas to have played every single one of the 390 minutes so far; midfielder Emily van Egmond and defenders Steph Catley and Ellie Carpenter being the other three.
That quartet have been exceptional. Carpenter’s defensive work and speed have been crucial, while Catley has been one of Australia’s best attacking threats. Both she and van Egmond have provided assists for two goals, while Kerr has been involved in six.
The champion’s double against Great Britain has taken her to equal top of the all-time Matildas goal-scoring charts with 47, alongside Lisa De Vanna.
Gustavsson will need to decide whether to change his personnel to give his weary players a rest, or if they can go the distance once again with a guaranteed medal on the line.
A date with either the USA or Canada awaits, as does the possibility of a first ever Olympic football medal for Australia.
Kick-off: 9pm (AEST)
Venue: International Stadium, Yokohama
TV: Channel Seven, 7Mate
1. Lydia Williams, 2. Sam Kerr (c), 3. Kyra Cooney-Cross, 4. Clare Polkinghorne, 5. Aivi Luik, 6, Chloe Logarzo, 7. Steph Catley, 8. Elise Kellond-Knight, 9. Caitlin Foord, 10. Emily van Egmond, 11. Mary Fowler, 12. Ellie Carpenter, 13. Tameka Yallop, 14. Alanna Kennedy, 15. Emily Gielnik, 16, Hayley Raso, 17. Kyah Simon, 18. Teagan Micah, 19. Courtney Nevin, 20. Charlotte Grant, 21. Laura Brock, 22. Mackenzie Arnold
1. Hedvig Lindahl, 2. Jonna Andersson, 3. Emma Kullberg, 4. Hanna Glas, 5. Hanna Bennison, 6. Magdalena Eriksson, 7. Madelen Janogy, 8. Lina Hurtig, 9. Kosovare Asllani, 10. Sofia Jakobsson, 11. Stina Blackstenius, 12. Jennifer Falk, 13. Amanda Ilestedt, 14. Nathalie Bjorn, 15. Olivia Schough, 16. Filippa Angeldal, 17. Caroline Seger (c), 18. Fridolina Rolfo, 19. Anna Anvegard, 20. Julia Roddar, 21. Rebecka Blomqvist, 22. Zecira Musovic