Australia clinched a berth in the quarterfinals of the Rio 2016 Olympics with a 6-1 victory over Zimbabwe on Tuesday, but the late goal conceded cost the Matildas a chance at a potentially more favorable matchup in the knockout stage.
Emmaculate Msipa’s goal for Zimbabwe in second-half stoppage time put away any hopes Australia had of finishing second in Group F. The Matildas needed to erase Germany’s goal-difference of seven goals and have Germany lose to Canada — which happened; Canada won that simultaneous match, 2-1. With the Germany loss holding and Australia leading Zimbabwe 6-0, one more goal would have placed Australia in the second spot of the group and a quarterfinal match-up against the second-place team out of Group E, likely China or Sweden.
But Zimbabwe’s goal means Australia will advance as one of the two best third-place teams, likely facing either world No. 1 United States or Olympic host Brazil in the quarterfinal.
Australia scored three goals on corner kicks, and Michelle Heyman’s brace off the bench led the way. Lisa De Vanna, Claire Polkinghorne, Alanna Kennedy and Kyah Simon also scored.
The Matildas will find out their quarterfinal opponent after all of Tuesday’s matches have ended.
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