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So much to say about the Matildas’ performance at the Rio Olympics. 

A 2-0 loss to a team that is the form team of the tournament (Canada); a draw to Germany; and a win against Zimbabwe.

The quarter-final v home team, Brazil, was always going to be challenging before a partisan crowd in Belo Horizonte – but what a game! It was fast, furious, full of passion, and full of skill. There was nothing left out in the middle from either side at the end of 120 minutes. 

The Matildas were on the wrong end of a heartbreaking penalty shootout on this occasion. As with most penalty shootouts, that could have gone either way (and many fans are muttering about how much the Brazilian goalkeeper, Barbara, was off her line).

What this result does point to is – yet again – how much potential the women’s game has, and raises the relationship between adequate preparation and performance.

The ABC’s Background Briefing programme canvassed these issues in October. We raised the latter issue in March with reports that coach Alen Stajcic could not win the battle internally within FFA for the additional resources he sought to prepare the squad for the Olympic Games. 

With a $5 million windfall kitty from FIFA under Gianni Infantino’s generous Presidency, and buoyed by everything about the Matildas that personifies fair play, competitiveness, determination and hard work, surely the time could not be more ripe than now for FFA to better resource the women’s game from grassroots through to the elite level. 

Well played Matildas and coaching staff. Thanks for being there. 

Categories: Opinion | Women

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