• The Matilda's pose for a team photo with the Aboriginal flag prior to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games first round football match against New Zealand. (AFP via Getty Images)Source: AFP via Getty Images
Prior to their clash against New Zealand on Wednesday night, Australia posed for a team photo with the Aboriginal flag proudly held up.
SBS The World Game
22 Jul 2021 - 10:54 AM  UPDATED 22 Jul 2021 - 10:54 AM

The Matildas shrugged off five matches without a win by defeating New Zealand 2-1 in the opening match of the Tokyo Olympics with Sam Kerr scoring the second goal with New Zealand claiming a consolation late. 

Ahead of the match, the Matildas posed with the Aboriginal flag, in the midst of a stand by sporting teams against racial injustice around the world. New Zealand took the knee, as did many other teams throughout the opening matches of the Olympics.

“We are really proud of it,” Matildas captain Sam Kerr said afterwards.

“It was something that we spoke a lot to as a team.

"We let the Indigenous girls kind of drive it.

"We felt that didn’t want to just do something to go with the grain, we wanted to do something that was relevant to our country, and show unity within our group and let everyone feel that they are represented.”

Fellow goalscorer Tameka Yallop added her voice in support of the move during the post-match press conference.

"We are obviously in support of no racism," said Yallop, "we definitely wanted to take a stand and show our support of that, and we also wanted to represent not just Kyah Simon and Lydia Williams within our team, but the broader Indigenous Australians, and give our own Australian flare to shed light on that aspect of it as well."

Kerr was key in the win as she claimed the assist for Yallop's opener before scoring a header herself 13 minutes later.

"It's always good to start a campaign with a win and it gives us a lot of confidence," Kerr said.

Matildas open Olympics campaign with New Zealand victory
Humid conditions in Tokyo for the Matildas’ opening match didn’t stop the Australians as they got off to a good start in the Olympics, downing New Zealand 2-1.

"But it's only one step in the journey. Everything was for this moment.

"The results before didn't go our way but we got the three points and move on.

"Hopefully we did Australia proud."

The Matildas next face Sweden on Saturday night with the Swedes pulling of a stunning earl tournament upset over the United States of America, winning 3-0 in their opening match on Wednesday.