Tokyo Olympics: Olyroos stun Argentina after banishing Messi and Maradona talk

By Sports Desk July 22, 2021

Graham Arnold revealed he had "visualised" Australia's impressive 2-0 win over Argentina in their Olympics opener – and said keeping Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona out of conversations was all-important.

Australia head coach Arnold saw his Olyroos team strike a major victory for the underdog with their Tokyo 2020 success in Sapporo, where goals from Lachlan Wales and Marco Tilio did the damage.

Although the Argentina team this year does not carry the same star quality as the 2004 and 2008 sides that featured Carlos Tevez and Lionel Messi respectively, the South Americans were expected to be on a high after their senior side lifted the Copa America trophy earlier this month.

Arnold's Australian troops were highly impressive in the Group C tussle, however, even though their coach still saw room for improvement.

"Nobody would have given us a chance apart from us. I've been visualising this performance for the last couple of weeks, I even visualised the score," Graham said.

"I believe in these boys and I believe so much in them that I'm not happy with our overall performance. I was happy with the work rate, the energy, but at times we turned over the ball too simply and too easily. We need to improve as we go on, and we will."

 

Arnold pointed to Australia having only one previous Olympic men's football win in the 2000s, a 5-1 win over Serbia and Montenegro in 2004 at the Athens Games.

"It's a great win, but we've done nothing yet. It's three points, we're off to a great start, the first win, but the important thing is improvement," the coach added.

"We didn't mention the name of the opposition, it's all about us. Sometimes when you mention a nation like Argentina's name, everyone just starts thinking of the players, Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, and Copa America champions.

"It was more about focusing on ourselves for the last week and making sure all the players knew their roles, their jobs and building a lot of belief in the players that we could go out there and put in a good performance and win the game."

He vowed Australia were "here to compete for a gold medal" and offered up the victory to those locked down in Australia during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

"It was probably the last thing I mentioned to the players before they went on the pitch," he said. "Australia, New South Wales in particular, is going through a very tough time at the moment with COVID, with lockdown and I just said to the boys, 'A lot of families are locked down at home, let's put a smile on a lot of Australian faces tonight, give them a performance they will remember'.

"I really expect that a lot of people back at home who didn't give us much chance of winning before really enjoyed that. I expect we put a lot of smiles on a lot of faces ... for tonight anyway."

Related items

  • 'I would vote for Erling' – Dortmund coach Rose on Haaland's Ballon d'Or nomination 'I would vote for Erling' – Dortmund coach Rose on Haaland's Ballon d'Or nomination

    Marco Rose believes Erling Haaland deserves his Ballon D'Or nomination, with the Borussia Dortmund head coach insisting he would vote for the "extraordinary" star.

    Haaland is among the 2021 Ballon d'Or nominees following his exploits for Bundesliga side Dortmund.

    The in-demand 21-year-old forward scored 41 goals in as many appearances over 2020-21 – including 27 from 28 in the Bundesliga as he was named the league's player of the season.

    Haaland – linked with the likes of Manchester City, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Liverpool, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona – has 24 goals for Dortmund in just 25 games across this calendar year.

    As Dortmund prepare for Tuesday's Champions League fixture against Eredivisie giants Ajax, Rose hailed the Norway international.

    "When Jule [Julian Brandt] says that he was better at headers," Rose told reporters. "Then you know exactly which huge step he [Haaland] has made forward in the last months but yes, it’s for sure something where he has made a great development.

    "We are a little bit biased because Erling is our player and we always support our players. What he does is extraordinary. He is nominated and deserves it... If you see his experienced competitors who have more years of experience already then it’s just beautiful to have such a young player at this level.

    "I think that Erling can win great individual titles in the next [few] years when he stays healthy but the beautiful thing about him is that he cares more about the team titles. That's the most important [aspect]. But if I could take a vote [in the Ballon D'Or], I would vote for Erling."

    Haaland has scored nine goals in nine away Champions League appearances so far – a goal in this game will see him become the fastest player to score 10 away goals in the competition, breaking the record of 12 games set by Mario Gomez in February 2011 and Kylian Mbappe in February 2019.

    Dortmund have won their last two major European matches in the Netherlands, winning 3-1 against PSV in October 2002 and 4-1 against Ajax in November 2012, both in the Champions League. Their last defeat on Dutch soil was in the 2002 UEFA Cup final, a 3-2 defeat in Rotterdam against Feyenoord under Matthias Sammer.

    Meanwhile, Dortmund have won four of their last five away Champions League matches (L1) – more than they had in their previous 15 on the road (W3 D2 L10).

  • Jamaica sprint queens conferred with sixth-highest national award Jamaica sprint queens conferred with sixth-highest national award

    Elaine Thompson-Herah, the fastest woman and alive, said she will use the inspiration of being conferred with the Order of Distinction to help motivate women and young girls to strive without limits.

    Thompson-Herah, who rebounded from five years of disappointment, to become the first woman to win both 100m and 200m titles in consecutive Olympic Games at the Tokyo Games in August, was among several sports personalities to receive national honours at the Ceremony of Investiture and Presentation of National Honours and Awards on Monday.

    Thompson-Herah, who ran 10.54 on Usain Bolt’s birthday, August 21, 2021, to become the fastest woman alive and the second-fastest of all time at the Diamond League’s Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, said the recognition has motivated her to inspire others.

    “I have been inspired and motivated by powerful women around the world, powerful women from my island home Jamaica,” she said on Instagram.

    “I feel so honoured and overjoyed to be given this Order of Distinction (Commander Class) by my nation. I now use this classification to help motivate and uplift women and young girls to strive without limits.”

    The five-time Olympic gold medalist was among three Jamaican sprint queens to be conferred with OD’s in the Commander Class. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the 100m silver medalist in Tokyo, and Jackie Pusey, who at 16, represented Jamaica at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada were also awarded.

    Former West Indies captain Jimmy Adams received the Order of Distinction (Officer Class) for his contribution to the sport of cricket.

    The late Jamaican striker, Luton Shelton, Jamaica’s leading male scorer, was posthumously awarded the OD (Officer Class) for his contribution to football.  Shelton died in January 2021 from Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

    He played for Jamaica on 75 occasions scoring 35 goals.

    Meanwhile, Dr Praimanand Mongal Beharry Singh received the Order of Distinction for outstanding dedication and service to the field of sports.

  • T20 World Cup: Sri Lanka crush Namibia, Campher inspires Ireland T20 World Cup: Sri Lanka crush Namibia, Campher inspires Ireland

    Sri Lanka eased to a straightforward seven-wicket victory over Namibia in their opening match of the T20 World Cup on Monday.

    Namibia were dismissed for just 96 runs after being put into bat first, and Sri Lanka ultimately eclipsed that total as early as the 14th over.

    Maheesh Theekshana was a key part of the Sri Lanka attack, taking Stephan Baard on his first delivery, before also claiming the scalps of Zane Green and Jan Frylinck, ending the day at 3-25.

    Craig Williams (29) was the only Namibian to get more than 20, though his haul was hardly emphatic given it came off 36 balls and included just two boundaries.

    Sri Lanka's innings did not start particularly impressively given they were 26-3 after the first ball of the sixth over, but Avishka Fernando (30 not out) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (42 not out) had a steadying impact as they got them over the line at 100-3.

    The day's early Group A match saw Ireland win in similarly comprehensive fashion against the Netherlands, with the bowlers again having the decisive impact during a seven-wicket victory.

    Curtis Campher (4-26) incredibly took all four of his wickets in succession to leave the Dutch in disarray, becoming only the third man after Lasith Malinga and Rashid Khan to achieve the feat in a T20I, while Mark Adair was even more efficient with figures of 3-9 in his four overs.

    Like Campher, Adair's treble came in a row and right at the end as the Netherlands could only set a target of 106.

    Paul Stirling (30 not out) kept things ticking over throughout with a professional – if unspectacular – knock, but Gareth Delany (44) top scored for the Irish. By the time he was eventually stopped by Pieter Seelaar's yorker, Ireland only needed another 12 runs.

    Elsewhere, several of the tournament favourites were in action in warm-up matches. India beat England by seven wickets with six balls remaining partly down to swift 50s by KL Rahul and Ishan Kishan, while Australia's 159-7 saw them defeat New Zealand with one ball left.

    South Africa enjoyed a comfortable 41-run win over Afghanistan and Pakistan defeated the West Indies by seven wickets in a little over 15 overs.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.