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Dream start for Matildas on road to Rio after 3-1 win over Japan

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The Australian women's football team have taken a giant stride towards qualification for the 2016 Olympic Games thanks to an impressive 3-1 win over London 2012 silver medallists Japan in Osaka.

First-half goals from Lisa De Vanna and Michelle Heyman opened up a handy advantage, and though Yuki Ogimi pulled a goal back with virtually the last kick of the half, Katrina Gorry iced the victory 12 minutes from time.

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Matildas shock Japan in Osaka

Despite a huge 3-1 win over Japan in Osaka, the Matildas remain focused on the end goal of qualifying for Rio 2016

Victory in the opener provides a perfect springboard as one of just two qualifiers from a tough six-team tournament that includes three of the world's top ten, and five of the world's top 20.

The win, the Matildas first over Japan in six attempts, earns a dose of revenge for a quarter-final exit at the hands of the same opponent during last year's Women's World Cup.

Australia took the lead on 25 minutes as Gorry played a short cross towards the penalty spot where De Vanna scored with a rare headed finish.

Two's company: Michelle Heyman (third from right) celebrates scoring the Matildas' second goal in the 3-1 win over Japan.

Two's company: Michelle Heyman (third from right) celebrates scoring the Matildas' second goal in the 3-1 win over Japan.

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It got even better 15 minutes later as De Vanna feed Heyman who coolly rounded the goalkeeper to score, although there was a touch of controversy about the goal with Australia benefitting from a fortuitous deflection of the referee.

Ogimi turned the ball home from close range on the stroke of half-time, but Gorry, the smallest player in the Australian team, rounded out a famous win with another headed goal.

There was good news for Australia in the other game as North Korea DPR, arguably the second-ranked team in the tournament, were held 1-1 by rivals South Korea.

AAP

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