Ange Postecoglou says the sky is the limit for the Matildas, with the Socceroos coach backing Australia's women's team to win gold at the Rio Olympics.
The Matildas qualified for the Games after topping the table at the final round of Asian qualifying last week in Japan, where Alen Stajcic's side went through the event undefeated.
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Having progressed to the quarter-finals at last year's World Cup in Canada, Postecoglou said there was no reason why the Matildas couldn't advance much further, and become the first Australian soccer team to claim an Olympic medal. "Qualifying is not what they're about. They can win a medal here. I think a gold medal," Postecoglou told the ABC's Offsiders program on Sunday morning.
It wasn't just the team's results that had impressed Postecoglou. Moreover it was their style that had taken his fancy. The Matildas scored 17 goals across their five matches in Osaka. "It'd be great for football, the way these girls have done it this way, and are continuing to play the game in the right manner. It's not just that they're winning, they're playing a real good brand of football as well."
The US, Germany, France, China and Canada are other quarter-finalists from last year's World Cup to have qualified for the 12-team tournament.
Rio will be just the third Olympics at which the Matildas have competed since women's soccer was introduced for the 1996 Atlanta Games. Australia finished seventh four years later in Sydney, and fifth in Athens 12 years ago.
While the Matildas won their way back to the games, the Olyroos' drought continues, with coach Aurelio Vidmar sacked earlier this month after again failing to steer his under-23 team to the Olympics. The 1992 Olyroos are still, however, the benchmark for Australian soccer teams at the Olympics, having fallen to Ghana in the bronze medal match in Barcelona.