Four Olympic Matildas milestones

The countdown continues with four days to go until the Matildas open their Olympic campaign.

Yesterday, we took a look back on five historic Olympic goalscorers to mark five days to go. Today, we take you through four Olympic Matildas milestones and highlights.

Olympic debut

The Matidas made their Olympic Games debut on home soil at Sydney 2000, after women's football was officially added to the Olympic programme ahead of Atlanta 1996.

As the host nation, Australia automatically qualified for the Games, with the Matildas being led by team captain, Alison Forman.

Alison Forman 2000 Olympics

The Aussies went down in their first match against Germany, 1-0, but history was made when Cheryl Salisbury scored the Matildas first-ever Olympic goal in the next match against Sweden where the teams drew 1-1.

Sunni Hughes scored the team's second goal in a 1-2 loss to Brazil which saw the Matildas' dream of winning golden glory at home come to an end and the team finished seventh overall.

READ: Five Matildas Olympic goalscorers

Out of the group stages

Upon their Olympic return at Athens 2004, the Matildas improved on their Sydney 2000 result when they reached the quarter-finals.

After winning the Oceania Olympic qualifying tournament, the Matildas won their first match against hosts, Greece, before going on to draw 1-1 with powerhouses, USA.

Goals from Heather Garriock, Joey Peters and Lisa De Vanna contributed to the Matildas making their first-ever quarter-final in a major international tournament.

Ultimately the team were beaten by Sweden, but it wouldn't be the last time we'd see the Matildas progress past the group stages.

Caitlin Foord of Australia celebrates after scoring a goal during the Women's First Round Group F match between Germany and Australia on Day 1 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Arena Corinthians on August 6, 2016 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Robert Cianflone - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

In Rio 2016, the team managed to equal their result progressing through to the quarter-finals where they lost in a heartbreaking 7-6 penalty shootout against host nation, Brazil.

Experience in numbers

The Matildas head into Tokyo 2020 with its most experienced team to date, with an average age of 27.5 years and 14 of the team already having Olympic experience under their belts.

In total, the team boasts over 1200 international caps and over 160 goals between them.

Variety and fresh legs

The IOC's announcement of the Olympic football squads being extended from 18 to 22 players comes as a welcome change ahead of Tokyo 2020.

Originally travelling reserves, now the talents of Mackenzie Arnold, Laura Brock, Courtney Nevin and Charlotte Grant can be called upon at any time, giving coach Gustavsson more options and importantly, giving the team time to rest and recover during what will be a gruelling competition.

Laura Brock AOC Olympic headshot

MORE: Matildas Tokyo 2020 Olympic Team extended from 18-22 players
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