Matildas defeat Philippines 8-0 in second Olympic qualifier

Three days after scrapping past a stubborn Iran side, the Matildas have rediscovered their groove by defeating the Philippines 8-0 in front of a record crowd at Perth Stadium as their Olympic qualification campaign charges onwards.

Hat-tricks to Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord were complemented by goals to Mary Fowler and Clare Wheeler in both halves as head coach Tony Gustavsson fielded his strongest line-up for the first time since the World Cup.

In front of a sellout crowd of 59,155 at Optus Stadium on Sunday, Kerr and Foord scored first-half braces as Australia took a 5-0 lead into the break.

Kerr secured her hat-trick just 24 seconds into the second half when she headed home a pin-point cross from Mary Fowler for her 68th goal from 127 internationals.

Foord notched her own hat-trick in the 56th minute when she danced around an opponent on the by-line and nailed her shot from a tight angle.

The result thrust the Matildas to the top of Group A on six points, meaning all they need is a draw against Chinese Taipei next Wednesday to guarantee progression to the final stage of qualification in February.

Even with a loss the Matildas would either top the group or at least qualify as the best runner-up from the three Asian confederation groups.

The only concern from Sunday’s match was an injury to substitute Cortnee Vine, who came off in the 75th minute with what appeared to be a hamstring issue 10 minutes after coming on.

“It’s amazing to play here in front of a packed crowd,” Kerr told channel 10 after the match.

“I think everyone came out here and gave 100 per cent. We worked our butts off today, that’s for sure.”

The Matildas rested most of their biggest stars in Thursday’s 2-0 win against Iran, but they wheeled out a full-strength outfit against the Philippines in a match that would effectively decide the group winner.

Kerr, Foord, Mackenzie Arnold, Steph Catley and Fowler were among the 10 changes, and it didn’t take long for the floodgates to open.

Fowler opened the scoring in the 15th minute courtesy of a clever deflection from Foord.

And the crowd went into a frenzy when Kerr scored from close range in the 19th minute following a superb run by Foord, who beat two opponents before dishing off the assist.

Kerr turned provider for the next goal when she expertly controlled Fowler’s lobbed pass before dishing off to Foord to score in the 30th minute.

Foord added another three minutes later when she held off an opponent before sliding a shot past the goalkeeper as she was falling to ground.

Kerr made it 5-0 on the stroke of half-time when she found herself one-on-one against the goalkeeper and blasted the ball into the back of the net.

The Matildas skipper headed home Fowler’s cross just 24 seconds into the second half, and it was party time in the 56th minute when Foord evaded an opponent to secure her hat-trick.

Kerr, Hayley Raso, Kyra Cooney-Cross and Katrina Gorry were subbed off in the 65th minute with the job done, but substitute Clare Wheeler ensured the party continued with a 72nd-minute rocket from the edge of the box to secure her maiden international goal.

The world number 44 Philippines, coached by Western United boss Mark Torcaso, came from behind to beat Chinese Taipei 4-1 in their group stage opener, but they were simply no match for the Matildas.

Read how the match unfolded in our liveblog below.

Key events

Thanks and ciao

It’s been a joy bringing you tonight’s incredible performance from the Tillies. The teal away kit really does give them special powers.

Their final match against Chinese Taipei kicks off at 10:00pm AEDT on Wednesday night, and you bet your butts I’ll be back on the blog for what is hopefully another convincing outing from the gals.

Until then, have a great start to your week, and I’ll see you then!

Final thoughts

We couldn’t have asked for much more than that, could we?

Eight goals, including five in the first half. A clean sheet. Two hat-tricks. A record crowd.

The Matildas’ path towards qualification for the Paris Olympics next year seems like just a matter of time.

A completely dominant performance, especially from the returned World Cup heroes.

While the second-half fizzled out somewhat after a raft of changes, which is something the team will need to sort out moving into the third round of qualifying against much tougher opposition, for now there’s not much more that could’ve been better.

23 shots, 12 on target, 76% possession, 689 passes, 5 corners.

And a very, very happy Perth crowd.

Full-time: Australia 8 – 0 Philippines

93′ Sayer isn’t giving up!

The young midfielder comes charging into the six-yard box head-first, trying to connect with a fizzing cross from Carpenter from the byline.

But the ball is just too quick and Sayer – as well as everybody else – misses it completely.

92′ Emily Van Egmond could’ve capped it off

The Philippines are basically blue training cones now; they’re barely able to track back or keep up with the Matildas.

Emily Van Egmond and Ellie Carpenter exchange a couple passes, with the substitute kinda just walking towards the top of the box without any pressure. She has so much time to open her body up and take a shot, but for some reason tries to pass through to Foord, who’s standing offside anyway.

The ball trickles away. Weird moment.

Four minutes of stoppage time

And the Matildas are still hunting for a ninth goal, bless ’em.

89′ Chance!

A deep free kick by Catley finds the head of Amy Sayer this time, who flings her dark ponytail at it totally unchallenged near the six-yard area, but it’s an awkward connection and bounces well over the crossbar.

So still a ways to go

Hi Sam, just checked on Wikipedia and it’s about the 8th biggest crowd at Optus. After some AFL games, a Bledisloe Cup and a State of Origin.

PS. How’s your French?

– Mark

My French is very bad. The Duolingo owl is not happy with me.

But we’re one step closer to the Paris Olympics, so I think I might have to brush up…


Wow… this is embarrassing…I got it wronger than I ever have.

– Natty

But honestly, I’m okay with being wrong if these are the kinds of performances and score-lines we get!

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It’s time to hang up on the old telecoms rulebook

Joakim Reiter | via Vodafone

Around 120 years ago, Guglielmo Marconi planted the seeds of a communications revolution, sending the first message via a wireless link over open water. “Are you ready? Can you hear me?”, he said. Now, the telecommunications industry in Europe needs policymakers to heed that call, to realize the vision set by its 19th-century pioneers.

Next-generation telecommunications are catalyzing a transformation on par with the industrial revolution. Mobile networks are becoming programmable platforms — supercomputers that will fundamentally underpin European industrial productivity, growth and competitiveness. Combined with cloud, AI and the internet of things, the era of industrial internet will transform our economy and way of life, bringing smarter cities, energy grids and health care, as well as autonomous transport systems, factories and more to the real world.

5G is already connecting smarter, autonomous factory technologies | via Vodafone

Europe should be at the center of this revolution, just as it was in the early days of modern communications.

Next-generation telecommunications are catalyzing a transformation on par with the industrial revolution.

Even without looking at future applications, the benefits of a healthy telecoms industry for society are clear to see. Mobile technologies and services generated 5 percent of global GDP, equivalent to €4.3 trillion, in 2021. More than five billion people around the world are connected to mobile services — more people today have access to mobile communications than they do to safely-managed sanitation services. And with the combination of satellite solutions, the prospect of ensuring every person on the planet is connected may soon be within reach.

Satellite solutions, combined with mobile communications, could eliminate coverage gaps | via Vodafone

In our recent past, when COVID-19 spread across the world and societies went into lockdown, connectivity became critical for people to work from home, and for enabling schools and hospitals to offer services online.  And with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, when millions were forced to flee the safety of their homes, European network operators provided heavily discounted roaming and calling to ensure refugees stayed connected with loved ones.

A perfect storm of rising investment costs, inflationary pressures, interest rate hikes and intensifying competition from adjacent industries is bearing down on telecoms businesses across Europe.

These are all outcomes and opportunities, depending on the continuous investment of telecoms’ private companies.

And yet, a perfect storm of rising investment costs, inflationary pressures, interest rate hikes and intensifying competition from adjacent industries is bearing down on telecoms businesses across Europe. The war on our continent triggered a 15-fold increase in wholesale energy prices and rapid inflation. EU telecoms operators have been under pressure ever since to keep consumer prices low during a cost-of-living crisis, while confronting rapidly growing operational costs as a result. At the same time, operators also face the threat of billions of euros of extra, unforeseen costs as governments change their operating requirements in light of growing geopolitical concerns.

Telecoms operators may be resilient. But they are not invincible.

The odds are dangerously stacked against the long-term sustainability of our industry and, as a result, Europe’s own digital ambitions. Telecoms operators may be resilient. But they are not invincible.

The signs of Europe’s decline are obvious for those willing to take a closer look. European countries are lagging behind in 5G mobile connectivity, while other parts of the world — including Thailand, India and the Philippines — race ahead. Independent research by OpenSignal shows that mobile users in South Korea have an active 5G connection three times more often than those in Germany, and more than 10 times their counterparts in Belgium.

Europe needs a joined-up regulatory, policy and investment approach that restores the failing investment climate and puts the telecoms sector back to stable footing.

Average 5G connectivity in Brazil is more than three times faster than in Czechia or Poland. A recent report from the European Commission — State of the Digital Decade ( shows just how far Europe needs to go to reach the EU’s connectivity targets for 2030.

To arrest this decline, and successfully meet EU’s digital ambitions, something has got to give. Europe needs a joined-up regulatory, policy and investment approach that restores the failing investment climate and puts the telecoms sector back to stable footing.

Competition, innovation and efficient investment are the driving forces for the telecoms sector today. It’s time to unleash these powers — not blindly perpetuate old rules. We agree with Commissioner Breton’s recent assessment: Europe needs to redefine the DNA of its telecoms regulation. It needs a new rulebook that encourages innovation and investment, and embraces the logic of a true single market. It must reduce barriers to growth and scale in the sector and ensure spectrum — the lifeblood of our industry — is managed more efficiently. And it must find faster, futureproofed ways to level the playing field for all business operating in the wider digital sector.  

But Europe is already behind, and we are running out of time. It is critical that the EU finds a balance between urgent, short-term measures and longer-term reforms. It cannot wait until 2025 to implement change.

Europeans deserve better communications technology | via Vodafone

When Marconi sent that message back in 1897, the answer to his question was, “loud and clear”. As Europe’s telecoms ministers convene this month in León, Spain, their message must be loud and clear too. European citizens and businesses deserve better communications. They deserve a telecoms rulebook that ensures networks can deliver the next revolution in digital connectivity and services.

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Morning Digest | India sees lowest August rainfall in a century; Chinese President yet to confirm presence at Delhi’s G-20 summit, and more

Core sectors grew 8% in July, but output 2.2% below June levels

All of India’s eight infrastructure industries reported growth for the first time in 14 months this July, with core sectors’ output rising 8% after a five-month high surge of 8.3% in June. While July’s performance was buoyed by a 14.9% in coal production, steel output also rose in double digits for the ninth successive month, rising 13.5% in July. Natural gas production grew 8.9% in July, the fastest pace recorded since February 2022.

India sees lowest August rainfall in a century; September is likely to be ‘normal’: IMD

Rainfall in August had been the least in over a century, with India getting 36% less rain than it usually does in the month. Of the four monsoon months, August usually sees the most amount of rainfall (25.4 cm) after July’s 28 cm. The last time India recorded such severe deficits in August was in 2005, when the shortfall was about 25% of the normal, and in 2009, when India saw its biggest drought in half a century and August rainfall was 24% less than what was due.

Chinese President Xi Jinping yet to confirm presence at G-20 summit in Delhi

With just a week to go for the G-20 summit in Delhi, Chinese President Xi Jinping has not confirmed his presence at the meeting on September 9-10, sources in Delhi and Beijing said, amid reports that he may skip the high-powered meeting. Most other leaders, including U.S. President Joseph Biden, and leaders of the U.K., France, Germany, Canada, Japan, Brazil, Indonesia etc have already confirmed they will be present, and are expected to arrive at various times on September 8. In addition, Saudi Prince MbS is likely to be given an exceptional welcome as a State guest, and will stay on for a bilateral visit on September 11. 

Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia protest China’s map

The Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia released separate statements voicing their opposition to China’s new “standard map” for 2023, which has also drawn a strong protest from India. Beijing on August 31 again defended the issuing of the map on August 28, when asked about the protests from India, Malaysia and the Philippines. The map showed within China’s borders all of the Indian State of Arunachal Pradesh, Aksai Chin, as well as the entire South China Sea. While these were also displayed on previous versions of China’s official map, the issuing of the new map has been seen by China’s neighbours as complicating territorial disputes that are being negotiated.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump pleads not guilty and waives arraignment in Georgia election case

Former President Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty and waived arraignment in the case accusing him and others of illegally trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia. Mr. Trump and 18 others were charged earlier this month in a 41-count indictment that outlines an alleged scheme to subvert the will of Georgia voters who had chosen Democrat Joe Biden over the Republican incumbent in the presidential election.

One in four Ujjwala Yojana beneficiaries took zero or one LPG cylinder refills last year despite ₹200 subsidy, RTI data reveals

One out of every four beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana — a scheme aiming to make LPG gas cylinders available to rural and deprived households — either did not take any cylinders during the last financial year 2022-2023, or took just one refill. One in nine PMUY beneficiaries, or over 1.18 crore households, bought no refill cylinders at all last year. Another 1.51 crore beneficiaries bought only one refill cylinder, according to data from the three major gas companies.

Karnataka likely to declare extent of drought on September 4

The decision to recommend drought in affected areas will be taken on September 4 when the cabinet sub-committee on drought-related issues meets while the extent of crop damage due to deficit rainfall will be known in the next 10 days. Data provided by the government shows that as against the normal 660 mm rainfall expected between June 1 and August 30, Karnataka received 446 mm rainfall, which translates to a 26% deficit. In 29 districts, 70% deficit rainfall has been recorded in August, and rainfall has not been recorded for three consecutive weeks.

Assam to relaunch drive against child marriage in September

The drive against child marriages in Assam will be relaunched in September, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said. The fresh push against child marriage followed the Chief Minister’s announcement on Independence Day that the State government was determined to come up with a piece of robust legislation for abolishing polygamy. On Thursday, Mr. Sarma said that he had instructed officials at the fourth conference of the Superintendents of Police on July 28 to start another drive and prepare specific operating procedures to deal with child-marriage accused up to August 31. 

Suicide major cause of unnatural deaths among prisoners in India: SC committee tells apex court

Suicide is a major cause of the 817 unnatural deaths reported in jails across the country between 2017 and 2021, the Supreme Court Committee on Prison Reforms has told the apex court while emphasising the need for building suicide resistant barracks. It said in five years starting from 2017 to 2021, there were 462 deaths on account of old age and 7,736 prisoners died due to illness. “Out of a total number of 817 unnatural deaths in India’s prisons between 2017-2021, there were 660 suicides and 41 murders in the prisons across India during last five years from 2017 to 2021,” it said.

J&K police start drive to trace 734 absconders for their involvement in militancy

The Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) police have started a major exercise to identify and trace 734 absconders in the Union Territory, suspected to have a role in militancy-related cases. The police said these terrorists had managed to escape from the clutches of law for decades “by going underground and remaining untraced”. “Then they resurfaced to enjoy normal family life at their native or some distant places. Some of these terrorist absconders have managed to get government services and contracts, others found engaged in private businesses and even working in the court,” the police said.

Adani shares fall after report alleging overseas investors’ ties to promoters

Adani Group companies’ shares fell on Thursday, with the flagship Adani Enterprises sliding as much as 5%, in the wake of a report by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) that sought to affirm earlier allegations of share price manipulation by people close to the promoters. Shares of Adani Enterprises had pared losses and were trading 2.3% lower on the BSE at ₹2,457 as of 12:49 p.m. Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone Ltd. was also down 2.3% while Adani Power was 2.9% lower and Adani Green Energy was down 3.4%.

Anti-cancer jab taking 7 minutes to administer rolled out in England

An anti-cancer jab that can cut down treatment time for some by three quarters has been rolled out by National Health Service (NHS) England, the U.K.’s publicly funded healthcare system. The jab takes as little as 7 minutes to administer, NHS England said in a statement, adding that it will be the first health system in the world to roll out the seven-minute injection to hundreds of NHS cancer patients each year.

Asia Cup 2023 | After pummelling Nepal, Babar Azam says Pakistan are ready for India

Pakistan captain Babar Azam said his team will be brimming with confidence for Saturday’s Asia Cup blockbuster against arch-rivals India after kicking off their campaign with a comprehensive victory against Nepal on Wednesday. Against Nepal, Babar took 72 balls to bring up his 50 but the number one ranked ODI batsman soon stepped on the gas and raced to a 109-ball hundred. After that, he batted in T20 fashion, milking 51 off the next 22 balls he faced.

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US secures key military deal with the Philippines to counter Beijing’s growing regional influence

The Philippines signed an agreement with the United States on Thursday that will allow American soldiers free access to four of its new military bases at a time of growing unease in the Indo-Pacific region over China’s burgeoning influence.

The deal, which was sealed during a February 1 visit to Manila by the US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin, means more US troops near China and would enable Washington to better monitor Chinese movements in the disputed South China Sea and around Taiwan.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr granted the US army access to four additional military bases, mainly in the north of the archipelago. American soldiers, who already have access to five Philippine military bases, would also use these bases for joint training, storing equipment and supplies and building facilities, but not to establish a permanent presence.

Back to pro-Washington

The benefit of this military agreement for Washington may seem obvious: “It allows, first of all, to complete the military encirclement of China in the China Sea region. In the north, the United States can use the American base in Okinawa, Japan, and the bases in South Korea, while in the south, American power can now be asserted from the bases in the Philippines,” said Danilo delle Fave, a specialist in security issues in Asia and associate researcher at the International Team for the Study of Security (ITSS) in Verona, an international group of experts in international security issues.

More importantly, it signals a return to a pro-Washington stance for a country that occupies a key geostrategic position at a time when the US and China are waging a war of influence in the Indo-Pacific region. The US administration can “finally say again that it can count on the Philippines in the event of a conflict with Beijing”, said Tom Smith, an expert on the Philippines and security issues in Southeast Asia at Portsmouth University.

Historically, the archipelago has had a love-hate relationship with the US. On paper, Manila is Washington’s oldest regional ally by virtue of a military cooperation agreement dating back to 1951.

But the reality is far more complex. Firstly, because of serious issues linked to the huge US-owned military bases – handed over in the early 1990s – that damaged the reputation of the US military. “There were cases of sex trafficking and prostitution that have left their mark,” Smith said.

Nor was the Philippines of particular strategic importance to the US in the East-West confrontation that dominated the Cold War years.

But Washington again began to make diplomatic overtures towards Manila “after the September 11 attacks, because the Philippines was viewed as a potentially useful ally in the fight against Islamist terrorism”, Smith said. The US army started training Filipino soldiers to better fight the Abu Sayyaf terrorist movement, which has a strong presence in the southern Philippine islands.

A bridge between regions

Since then, the Philippines’ strategic value has only increased. The country has “regained the same importance as it had during the Second World War”, said delle Fave. At that time the Philippines was the main land barrier between Asia and the United States. During the Second World War it blocked the way to Japan, whereas today it limits the scope of China’s operations.

In the eyes of both Washington and Beijing, “the Philippines is a bridge between the two regions – America and Asia – and whoever is favoured by Manila can assert themselves more easily on one side of the Pacific or the other”, delle Fave explained.

Under the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte between 2016 and 2022, the US watched nervously as its oldest Asian “ally” edged closer to China. The controversial former Philippine leader openly courted Beijing, proclaiming his ideological allegiance to the Chinese regime, while repeatedly criticising former US president Barack Obama.

Duterte offered his allegiances to Beijing in exchange for some promises of investment in infrastructure and the abandonment of Chinese claims to the Spratly Islands, which have been at the heart of Sino-Philippine tensions since the 1990s.

Ferdinand Marcos Jr, who has led the Philippines since June 2022, had pursued a similar foreign policy strategy and sought to “deepen collaboration with Beijing” when he visited there in early January.

Into the arms of the Americans

But just three weeks later, the Philippine government made an unexpected 180° turn by signing a new military agreement with the US. “The failure of Duterte’s diplomatic approach is essentially due to Chinese intransigence regarding Beijing’s territorial claims on the Spartleys,” delle Fave explained.

In the last six years, Beijing not only refused to compromise but failed to increase investments in the Philippines. The January trip was a way for Marcos Jr. to offer China one last chance before “recognising that the US offer is the most attractive to Manila”, said Smith. The US offer included a promise to defend the Philippine fleet if it is attacked by the Chinese in the disputed South China Sea, a potential key flashpoint.

China’s uncompromising stance appears to have driven the Philippines into the arms of the Americans, but it could come back to bite them. Not only will Beijing find it more difficult to play hardball in the South China Sea now that there are US troops stationed in the Philippines, but these new bases are just over 300 km from Taiwan, strengthening the US’s ability to intervene if a conflict erupts between China and Taiwan.

“China preferred the certainty of having a foothold on the islands it claims rather than a pledge of allegiance from a country that has already changed its mind several times,” said delle Fave.

The Chinese are far from having had their final say.

Beijing authorities on Thursday denounced the signing of the new military agreement, saying it would contribute to fuelling tensions in the region. But “raising the tone on the Chinese side is only the first step”, according to Smith. He believes that China will want to prove that it can continue to navigate safely in Philippine territorial waters. This will likely lead to more incidents involving Chinese and Filipino vessels. But for the time being, none of the countries involved – China, the Philippines and the United States – seem to have any interest in seeing such incidents escalate into a full-blown security crisis.   

This article is a translation of the original in French.


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