Tameka Yallop starts as Australia fall to Sweden at Summer Olympics
West Ham United midfielder Tameka Yallop suffered defeat with Australia in their second match at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, falling 4-2 to Sweden in Saitama.
The Matildas went into the fixture off the back of an impressive performance in their opening 2-1 win over near neighbours New Zealand in Group G, a game in which Yallop slammed home the opening goal after 20 minutes.
Yet the Swedes too were full of confidence after ending global ranking-topping United States’ 44-match unbeaten run with a spectacular 3-0 demolition in the first round of fixtures.
Both teams therefore attacked with intent in the opening stages of the contest, Yallop adding plenty of energy to the Australian midfield and Chelsea forward Sam Kerr causing a couple of early problems on behalf of her side.
The game’s opening goal, however, went to Sweden when Fridolina Rolfö produced a clinical finish in front of goal after 20 minutes, only for Kerr to sneak in behind Yallop and head in an equaliser for the Matildas shortly before half-time against the run of play.
Captain Kerr had a solid penalty appeal turned down just before the break, but put her team in front three minutes into the second half with another firm header, becoming Australia’s all-time leading Olympics scorer in the process.
Yet the lead lasted only four minutes, with Sweden turning things around in quickfire fashion thanks to top-quality finishes from Lina Hurtig and Rolfö.
Australia were then awarded a penalty with 20 minutes remaining in a topsy-turvy game, but Kerr – much to everyone’s surprise – produced a poor effort from the spot.
Yallop departed the field of play with 17 minutes remaining as Australia pursued an equaliser, Stina Blackstenius wrapping things up 4-2 with a header eight minutes from time.
The defeat sees Australia slip to third in Group G after the United States thumped New Zealand 6-1.
Yallop and her teammates are likely to still have done enough to qualify for the quarter-finals as one of the two best third-placed teams, save for a shock result in Group F, where China or Zambia would need to beat the Netherlands or Brazil respectively to usurp them.
Regardless, the Matildas will want to maintain their decent start to the competition when they face off against United States on Tuesday.
Elsewhere, Adriana Leon was an unused substitute for Canada as they assured themselves of a top-three finish in Group E with a 2-1 win over Chile in Sapporo, courtesy of a Janine Beckie brace.
In a similar situation to Yallop and Australia, the result means the Canadians are likely to be one of the two best third-placed teams and advance to the quarter-finals – a status also dependent on their result against group leaders Great Britain on Tuesday.
The Brits advanced as group leaders on Saturday thanks to a 1-0 win over Japan via a third goal of the tournament from Hammers fan Ellen White.