It may have been heartbreak for the Matildas as they went down fighting in a 3-4 battle for bronze against the US, but there is much to be celebrated as Australia welcomes a new era in women’s football.
Olympic history was made and records were broken both on and off the pitch, as the Matildas fought their way to a fourth-place finish, their best ever result at an Olympic Games.
Going toe-to-toe with powerhouses like World No.1 the US and the so far undefeated, Sweden, progressing through the ‘group of death,’ dishing out a 4-3 defeat to Great Britain and Sam Kerr officially becoming the Matildas’ all-time leading goalscorer, were just some of the highlights and promising performances Australians saw the Matildas deliver.
Aussie fans were cheering from home in force, with an average of 1.87 million (peak of 2.32 million) tuning in to watch the Matildas take on Sweden in the semi-finals, breaking the record for the largest-ever audience for a women’s team sport in Australia, something the Matildas broke in their earlier group stage match against Sweden with an average of 1.46 million.
As coach Tony Gustavsson stated in his pre-match press conference, this is just the beginning of a legacy.
“We’re heading somewhere to leave this game better than when we arrived.”
Forward Kyah Simon summed it up early in the tournament, with a timeless post on her Twitter page, “Stay with us Australia, we’re not done yet.”