In a double-header warm-up for the Olympic Games at North Sydney Oval on Saturday, Australia's Olyroos overcame their New Zealand counterparts 3-2, while the Australian women's team, the Matildas, defeated the Beijing-bound Football Ferns of New Zealand 1-0.
For the Australian Men's Olympic team, defender Mark Milligan continued his remarkable scoring streak from the qualifying games, connecting with two free kicks by Kristian Sarkies to score in the 26th and 78th minutes. In between, Sarkies himself scored with a rocketing right-foot volley seven minutes before the break.
For the Oly-Whites, it was former New Zealand Knights star Jeremy Brockie who did the damage, scoring with a header on 28 minutes before scything through the Olyroo defence to score a brilliant solo goal seven minutes after half-time.
Australian coach Graham Arnold declared himself satisfied with the result, but lamented the fact that Australia had not made the most of their chances in the second half, which they dominated. "We're about 75% of where I want us to be, in terms of fitness levels," he added.
In the earlier game, Australia's Leena Khamis headed in an excellent free kick from Heather Garriock on the bounce in the 35th minute, to give Australia's Matildas a win over the Football Ferns, who face a tough test at the Olympics against Japan, Norway and the USA. The Ferns went on to dominate much of the second half, but could not make their chances count. "It was great to see that we were all out there working for each other today," reflected captain Hayley Moorwood after the game. "Now we just need to finish."
The match also marked the retirement of long-serving Matilda defender Di Alagich, who was substituted on 82 minutes to heartfelt applause.