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Soccer Football - FIFA Women's World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 - Group B - Australia v Nigeria - Brisbane Football Stadium, Brisbane, Australia - July 27, 2023 Australia's Alanna Kennedy in action with Nigeria's Rasheedat Ajibade and Chiamaka Nnadozie REUTERS/Dan Peled

Written by Oluwaseun Oyediji

With a narrow fourth-place finish at Tokyo 2020, the Australian senior women’s national team head to Paris 2024 Olympics aiming for their first-ever podium finish.

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The Matildas have featured at four Olympics with their best performance being a fourth-place finish at Tokyo 2020.

They had their maiden appearance at home in the 2000 Sydney Olympics with a disappointing group-stage elimination.

The team reached the quarter-final of Athen 2004 in Greece before having a blackout and failing to qualify for consecutive Olympics in 2008 Beijing and London 2012.

A return at Rio 2016 also saw the team reaching the quarter-final stage before the appointment of the current coach, Tony Gustavsson.

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Gustavsson led the team to a fourth-place finish at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics where the team narrowly lost the third-place match to the United States Women's National Team (USWNT).

Another fourth-placed finish followed on home soil at the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup.

Missing their captain and top striker Sam Kerr at the Olympics will be a major blow for the Matildas but they are oiled by talents for the women's football event of the Olympics.

On their ways to glory is Germany (July 25), Zambia (July 28), and United States Women's National Team (July 31) in Group B.

Meanwhile…

Captain Steph Catley will be leading an array of players making their third appearance at the Olympics.

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The Matildas announced their 18-strong squad in early June and it features eight players set to head to a third Olympics.

Veterans Michelle Heyman and Tameka Yallop are the only domestic-based players in a side that will be captained by Arsenal defender Steph Catley in the absence of injured star Sam Kerr.

Half of the squad plays in England’s Women's Super League (WSL) while Heyman and 24-year-old Kaitlyn Torpey are the only two not to have been involved in last year’s Women’s World Cup.

Full squad: Mackenzie Arnold, Ellie Carpenter, Steph Catley, Kyra Cooney-Cross, Caitlin Foord, Mary Fowler, Katrina Gorry, Michelle Heyman, Clare Hunt, Alanna Kennedy, Teagan Micah, Clare Polkinghorne, Hayley Raso, Kaitlyn Torpey, Emily van Egmond, Courtney Vine, Clare Wheeler, Tameka Yallop.

Any form of podium finish be it gold, silver, or bronze will be a good bargain for Gustavsson whose contract expires at the end of the tournament with the Olympics likely to be his last chance of winning something with the team.

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