The Matildas are 90 minutes away from Paris 2024, with a three-nil rout away to Uzbekistan leaving the Australians on the verge of Olympic qualification. After struggling to break the deadlock for much of the encounter, veteran striker Michelle Heyman opened the scoring in her international comeback before Mary Fowler and Caitlin Foord pressed home the Matildas’ advantage with late goals.

In the end it was a comfortable victory, but it had been an increasingly frustrating afternoon in frigid Tashkent as chances went begging. The second-half introduction of 35-year-old Heyman, who had previously retired from international football, would prove the difference – a fairytale return for the Canberra United top goal-scorer.

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