SPEARWOOD’S Lisa De Vanna scored the opening goal as the Matildas booked their place in the quarter finals of the Rio Olympics with a big win over Zimbabwe at Arena Fonte Nova.
The Australians won 6-1 after dominating the majority of the match, although Zimbabwe did find some reward for their effort with a late consolation goal to Msipa Emmalulate.
The result means Alen Stajcic’s side will play either Brazil or the USA in the first phase of the knockout stages.
Any sort of win would have pushed Australia through to the next point of the tournament.
But the Australians were chasing seven goals to capitalise on any slip-ups in the group’s other match between Canada and Germany that would offer them a slightly easier path to gold.
De Vanna gave Australia a great start, latching onto a perfectly weighted cut-back pass from Katrina Gorry to finish in just the second minute.
Clare Polkinghorne consolidated the lead just 13 minutes later after she dabbed home a ball into the box from out wide.
Defender Alanna Kennedy put the icing on a great first half by heading home from a corner after finding space at the back post in the 37th minute.
Australia’s 3-0 lead was extended soon after the break when Kyah Simon put home Steph Catley’s slicing ball that dissected the Zimbabwe defence.
Michelle Heyman then came off the bench to score a quick double and take the score to 6 – 0.
Australia had plenty of chances to score a seventh, but could not take their opportunities.
Zimbabwe also came good late, finishing strongly and securing a consolation goal through Emmalulate.
Canada topped the group after going undefeated after three matches. Germany finished second with four points. Australia finished third with four points but a worse goal difference. Zimbabwe was fourth with no wins.