The Matildas’ reliance on the health of star scorer Sam Kerr was a topic of discussion at coach Tony Gustavsson’s pre-Olympic press conference.
Unimpressed, he brushed off the inquiry. Insisting that “it is a team,” the Swede emphasised the point. Everyone’s contribution is crucial to the team’s overall success. Sam is an integral part in understanding this.
S. Kerr Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
The Matildas’ Olympic campaign got off to a rousing start on a steamy Wednesday night in Tokyo when they defeated New Zealand. Australia scored two goals against the Football Ferns thanks to their fluid attacking style, with Kerr as a vital but not sole puzzle piece.
Even after a late defensive slip, Gustavssonn smiled and remained confident that his team is more than the sum of its parts.
The Matildas’ pregame photo with the Aboriginal flag was widely praised (their New Zealand counterparts took a knee). “We are incredibly proud of it,” Kerr added afterward. There was a lot of discussion about it amongst the team. We kind of gave the reins to the indigenous women.
We didn’t want to do something merely in accordance with the norm; rather, we wanted to do something meaningful for our country, for the sake of showing solidarity amongst our members and giving everyone the sense that their voices are being heard.
It was a cautious start to the contest as both sides showed signs of anxiety. Yet Australia gained command early on in the Tom Sermanni derby [the Scotsman presently manages New Zealand, after having been associated with the Australian national team for quite some time] and caused problems for the fragile New Zealand defence.
After only 20 minutes, Tameka Yallop opened the scoring by putting the ball in the back of the net. It was a Yallop rocket that beat the other team’s goalkeeper Erin Nayler, who was caught off her line by the Matildas’ veteran’s delicate Kerr backheel.
Australia maintained their forward momentum, and their already potent attack was given a much-needed boost. More communication occurred between Kerr, Yallop, Kyah Simon, and Caitlin Foord than in recent games.
The Chelsea attacker, Kerr, got in on the scoring action not long after, showing off her poaching skills by diving on a cross from Steph Catley. Nayler once more got a touch on the ball, but it was not enough to prevent the goal.
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