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Sport Matildas up for Sweden Olympics redemption

22:08  30 july  2021
22:08  30 july  2021 Source:   aap.com.au

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The high of delivering one of Australia's greatest wins is yet to wear off but the Matildas are adamant they can once again vanquish past demons when they face Sweden in their Olympics semi-final.

a young girl playing football on a field: The Matildas will be sweating on the fitness of talisman Sam Kerr (C) before their semi-final. © AP PHOTO The Matildas will be sweating on the fitness of talisman Sam Kerr (C) before their semi-final.

A brace from inspirational captain Sam Kerr and a goalkeeping clinic from Teagan Micah secured a 4-3 upset quarter-final victory over Great Britain on Friday night.

It was the Matildas' first knockout win at an Olympics or World Cup since 2015 and guaranteed they'll play off for a medal.

But on Monday they must face Sweden, the tournament's most impressive side so far who beat the Matildas 4-2 in last week's group stages.

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The Australians haven't defeated their coach Tony Gustavsson's home nation in 11 games stretching back 24 years.

"It's like tonight. When you look at the rankings, obviously (Great Britain) was the second favourite in this tournament ... and obviously Sweden's ranked above us as well," Gustavsson said.

"But I think we've shown throughout this tournament that we believe in ourselves, and we stay loyal to who we are, whoever we play.

"So just believing in ourselves, go out and do our game plan and stick to that and play our game and hopefully it'll take us to the final."

The Matildas could sweat on how Kerr pulls up, given she looked to be struggling late in the quarter-final despite eventually seeing out the game.

"The way Sam led the team tonight even though she was in pain, it was one of those 'should she push through or should I take her off?'" Gustavsson said.

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"We had communication throughout the game but (she stayed on) and then she also comes up and scores.

"The way she leads this group in the locker room, back in the hotel, on the buses, it's a huge reason why (we won) this game."

Kerr also hailed Gustavsson, whose exuberant goal celebrations were a highlight, for giving the Matildas the belief to reach the final-four.

"We always kind of got to this point and (have) fallen at the last hurdle," she said.

"When (Gustavsson) first joined, that's what a lot of us said to him, 'we've got to this point and fallen and we just want to get there and give ourselves an opportunity to win a medal because we really believe that we can - but we've just not been able to get over that hurdle'.

"He's really instilled that belief that we can do it and we can beat any team - and playing the way we want to play."

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