Asian champions the Westfield Matildas were defeated 1-0 by world champions Japan today in the third match of their 2012 Olympic qualification campaign.
The Westfield Matildas held Japan to a scoreless first half at Shandong Sports Centre in Jinan, China, after a series of brilliant saves by goalkeeper Lydia Williams. But a succession of strong build-up play saw Japan's Nahomi Kawasumi score the match-determining goal in the 62nd minute.
With three matches played and one win and two losses recorded, the Westfield Matildas now face an uphill battle to book a spot at the 2012 London Olympics.
The Westfield Matildas lost their opening match to DPR Korea 1-0 and defeated Thailand 5-1.
Speaking at the post-match press conference, Westfield Matildas Head Coach Tom Sermanni congratulated the Japanese team on their victory, and said they were the better team on the day.
"In reality, we were completely outplayed by the Japanese," said Sermanni.
"Japan are playing with a huge amount of confidence and belief at the moment.
"We knew the games in this tournament were going to be very tight, with a question mark about where we would be at having to back up after the Women's World Cup.
"We felt that we were well prepared and well rested going into the game, which we thought might have given us an edge. But that turned out to be incorrect.
"The key thing now that is a test of our abilities and of our character is that we still have two games left in this competition. There is still the possibility of qualifying for the Olympics. While that's still alive, we need to go out and perform."
The Westfield Matildas will play China on 8 September and South Korea on 11 September.
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