Australia secured a resounding 6-1 victory over Zimbabwe in their final Olympic pool match and progressed to the knockout stages in the process, but not even that result has helped them avoid a desperately tough likely quarter-final clash with either host nation Brazil or world No1 USA after rivals Germany secured a better goal difference on a dramatic day of football in Rio.
Even with a 2-1 loss to Group F winners Canada, Germany advanced with a goal difference one better than Australia, as the Matildas rained in goals but failed to score the extra they required in the last 26 minutes of the Zimbabwe encounter as their opponents managed a late consolation.
Second-half substitute Michelle Heyman scored a brace for Australia, while there were also goals for Lisa De Vanna, who opened the scoring after just 69 seconds, Clare Polkinghorne, Alanna Kennedy and Kyah Simon, but Australia also let plenty of chances go begging and the result may still place their medal hopes in jeopardy.
The Matildas finished third in their four-team group after a disastrous 2-0 loss to Canada earlier in the competition and a 2-2 draw with Germany, but in the Rio tournament format the top two third-placed teams progress as well.
This article was written by Guardian sport, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 9th August 2016 22.52 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010