MATILDAS (AUSTRLIAN WOMEN’S FOOTBALL TEAM)
Their performances in the recent Olympic qualifying tournament have been nothing short of incredible. Annihilating the Chinese Taipei 7-0 in their first game and Thailand 6-0 in the second, they gave audiences more than enough reasons to be happy to attend Adelaide’s Campbelltown Stadium. But it was in their final match against China PR that their mettle was truly tested, as their opponents were able to gain the advantage just four minutes before the final whistle and after what had till then been a gruelling encounter, with two of Ante Milicic’s players coming off due to injuries. But even then, they were able to find a way back, with Emily van Egmond scoring the equaliser in the second minute of injury time. Now they will need to face Vietnam in early March to determine if they will be able to make it through to the Olympics but from what we’ve seen so far, they should start booking their tickets!
With their domestic season all but lost, it seems the Victory have begun to shift their focus towards the only attainable goal for them: the Asian Champions League. And it’s a good thing they have! Australia’s reputation in the region has been dropping rapidly in recent years, with clubs appearing unable to remain competitive to their counterparts from the rest of the continent. But the Melbourne club’s three consecutive wins in their opening games of the competition is a very positive start and hopefully it could build up to something even greater with at least one of the three participating teams (Melbourne Victory, Sydney FC, Perth Glory) advancing to the round of 16.
Greek-Aussie manager Ange Postecoglou is starting the season right where he left off, with his Yokohama Marinos putting on a convincing display in their return to the competition after seven years. The former South Melbourne manager’s team was able to beat South Korean club Jeonbuk 1-2 away from home, in a win that will allow them to begin the group stage on the right foot. Next week, Postecoglou and his men will face an Aussie challenge as they host Kosta Barbarousis’ Sydney FC, in what promises to be a thrilling encounter, considering the Australian champions current form.
After a thorough investigation conducted by Football Victoria, the Italian club has been found guilty of breaching their contract with the association for the past two seasons. Avondale was apparently registering players as amateurs, going on to use them on a professional level, offering them payment for their services. Although this is a bit of a case in which it is difficult to distinguish who is truly guilty and who is in the right, the club has been dealt a crippling blow, as they have been called to pay out a total of $80,000 (both in fines and in returns), while also been given point deductions both for the current and previous two seasons. A testament that the Victorian federation doesn’t muck around when it comes to rules.
Tennis can be a bit of a cruel sport. One day you win and you’re on top of the world. The next you’re having a bad day and everything seems to be going against you, so you’re back to being a nobody. This seems to be the case with Stefanos Tsitsipas, who after his success at the ATP Finals has been going from one disappointment to another. His recent blunder was the loss at the hands of Slovenian Aljaz Bedene, 5-7, 4-6, for the round of 16 of the ABN AMRO Rotterdam tournament. He is still young and has a lot to learn so this entire process will work in his favour and of course everyone will be there when the time finally arrives for him to reach the top of the world. It’s just a matter of when.
We don’t really know what could make Qatar’s offer so appealing for the Australian national team’s top scorer, but Tim Cahill should’ve already known beforehand that his decision to become an ambassador for the 2022 World Cup would not sit well with the Australian crowd. Be it the rumours of bribery and corruption of FIFA members by Qatar in order to gain their vote of confidence, the constant violation of human rights of the workers who are being used in order to deliver the brand new stadiums and facilities in a timely manner, or simply the fact that Australia was also among the candidates for the 2022 tournament (having delivered a highly attractive portfolio towards FIFA), there are simply too many reasons to choose from for Cahill to not have gotten involved with this. It must’ve taken him a very convincing reason to get him to climb aboard the Qatar train.