The new national team, led by captain Tony Gustavson, came to the Olympics in Tokyo, Australia with four defeats and one draw. Some talked about the team as a strong medalist.
Now four teams are in the tournament. “Modildas” is one of them.
For the first time in history, the team will play in the semifinals of a major senior championship.
– We have always had a strong belief in what can be achieved. Before many championships, we thought we could challenge the best, but it wasn’t so real. So breaking that barrier, it’s great for us. Australia’s vice-captain Captain Hill says Step Cadley.
The only loss so far
In the semi-finals in Yokohama on Monday, Sweden are waiting, the only team to beat Australia in the tournament so far. But after the quarter-final victory over Great Britain, 4-3 after extra time, the Australians are in full confidence.
– Now we are in the semifinals, everything is possible. Sweden is an incredible team and it is flying forward now. But in matches so far, it’s tough matches. We feel we can beat all the teams if we have a good day, with a high goal. Cadley says taking gold can be absolutely unbelievable
She could not emphasize what Tony Gustavson meant to the team.
– When he took charge, we really started fresh, we didn’t have much time. But all the while, despite giving up so many goals and failing in competitions, he said, “This is not the time for us to be in the best position, this is the Olympic quarterfinals.” Step Cadley says he instills confidence in all the players on the team.
According to striker Kia Simon, the 47-year-old Swede came with a lot of energy and tactical knowledge, but with the respect of the team he was in charge of.
– Passion is a word that really comes. His energy, charisma and interest in his work and our team. And he did not try to impose all of his tactics and style of play on us. But he tried to adapt the tactics to suit our players and our game system, says Simon.
Tony Gustavson smiles greatly when he hears his players. But he quickly diminishes his own tactics, tactics, and importance.
In the end, it was not the tactics that brought us here, it was the passion and the heart. The players had to fight hard to win against Great Britain and the terrible winning mood they showed was incredible. And I have very little stake in it, it was for the players long before I came here, Gustavson says.
Facts: Tony Gustavson
Born: 14 August 1973 in Sundsvall.
Occupation: Football coach.
Title: Captain of the national team for the Australian women’s national team.
Did: Coached club teams Djerborg, Hamperby, Kongswinger and Giff Sundswall (men) and Tyrus (women), assisting Pia Sundage and Jill Ellis on the USA national team (women).
Best Qualifications: Olympic Gold 2012, World Cup Gold 2015 and 2019.
Current: Leads Australia to the country’s first Olympic semifinals on Monday.