[Image: Jack Thomas/Getty Images]
Seven Queenslanders will represent Australia in football at Rio 2016 after being named to the Westfield Matildas’ 18-player roster on Monday.
Almost 40% of Alen Stajcic’s squad – which will meet Canada, Germany and Zimbabwe in the group stage – has progressed through Queensland’s player pathway.
Co-captain Clare Polkinghorne, defender Laura Alleway, goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold (pictured), midfielders Katrina Gorry, Elise Kellond-Knight and Tameka Butt, and forward Larissa Crummer all earned selection for the team’s first appearance at the Olympic Games since Athens 2004.
Several of the Queensland contingent – including Gorry, Polkinghorne and Kellond-Knight – have trained at Football Queensland’s Meakin Park headquarters in recent weeks to remain sharp in the off-season.
— AUS Olympic Team (@AUSOlympicTeam) July 4, 2016
Australia recently climbed to number five in the world rankings putting them well in the hunt for a medal in Rio.
“We’ve shown in the past 12 months or so that we’re a competitive team now on the world stage and it’s up to us now to prove that we can take that next step and genuinely compete for medals,” coach Alen Stajcic said
“We are in a very tough group with Canada being the reigning bronze medallists, Germany are a powerhouse and Zimbabwe are a bit of an unknown but having come through the African qualifiers we know they will be tough, powerful and unpredictable.”
— Australian Sport (@Ausport) July 4, 2016
The Australian side will be the first to compete in the green and gold at the 2016 Games when they take on Canada in Sao Paolo on August 3, two days out from the Opening Ceremony.
They will then face world number two Germany in Sao Paolo (August 6) and world number 93 Zimbabwe in Salvador (August 9).
The top two teams and two best third-placed teams from each of the three groups will progress to the knockout stages.