The Matildas win Olympics opener
Proving that they are a force to be reckoned with, the Matildas began their Olympics campaign with a 2-1 victory over New Zealand, after the US went down 3-0 to Sweden. The incredible display from the national Australian team saw goals come in the first half, from Tameka Yallop and Sam Kerr. While New Zealand got a goal up in the 91st minute to set up a tense stoppage time, the Matildas held on.
Now, Sweden is at the top of Group G, which is currently the most stacked of the women’s side of the football draw, with Australia second and New Zealand third. The World Cup winners and top-ranked Americans are now last.
Australian softball team suffer mercy-rule defeat
It was an exciting moment for softball fans as the sport entered the Games for the first time since Beijing in 2008. The Aussies faced Japan, the home tea, on Wednesday morning in Fukushima and started strongly, but after several opportunities slipped they soon found themselves on the backfoot. The big-hitting Japanese pressed on with their home advantage with three home runs in the later innings to secure an 8-1 victory. The game ended early, under softball’s mercy rule. Otherwise known as the “run-ahead rule,” the regulation prematurely ends a match where one team is winning by more than 15 runs in the third inning, 10 runs in the fourth inning, or seven runs in the fifth or sixth inning. When You Yamamoto hit a two-run homer int he fifth, Japan’s expanded lead met the criteria and the game was brought to a halt.
Despite the defeat, the team revelled in the moment after a long absence of the sport from recent Games. As team veteran Stacey Porter told reporters, “We’ve been waiting for 13 years to get back on the Olympics stage, so we were going to get out there and play no matter what. It definitely was a different atmosphere, but I wouldn’t say it was disappointing at all - it was different. Us Aussies can create an atmosphere - and I think that’s what we did in the dugout.”
Australian head coach Laing Harrow is optimistic about the games ahead, “It was a disappointing loss, obviously, but I guess one thing that’s great is that we’re going to be back here tomorrow and have the opportunity to get in the winner’s bracket.” He added, “Our girls have a process to go through when they get back to the hotel - we’ll stick with our processes, prepare and get ready to play Italy tomorrow afternoon.”