Campbell strikes in Sharks victory

MEREWETHER’S Richie Campbell scored two crucial goals as Australia beat Greece 13-8 on Monday to secure a quarter-final berth at the London Olympics.

Campbell, the 24-year-old centre back, struck twice in the space of three minutes in the second quarter to help Australia grab a 6-4 lead they refused to surrender.

‘‘That was amazing,’’ Campbell said after the game.

‘‘We hadn’t really played well, but that was our potential just there.

‘‘To beat Greece by that many, we can do anything now. We’re ready to go.

‘‘We’re fired.’’

Australia are expected to play likely top qualifiers Serbia in their quarter-final on Wednesday.

Campbell said Serbia had been the form team in the tournament but the Sharks were quite happy to play the role of giantkillers.

‘‘Anything can happen,’’ he said. ‘‘We don’t know what they [Serbia] are thinking, but hopefully we can take it to them like we just did then and shock them in a way.’’

Appearing in his 143rd international game, Campbell said he would ‘‘definitely remember that game’’ as one of his best in the green and gold.

‘‘My shooting hasn’t been in form lately but that game, I said I’ve just got to go for it,’’ he said.

‘‘To score two goals in that game, and really feel like part of the team in attack and defence, it was a great feeling.

‘‘It was a great team effort.’’ A two-hour team meeting at which players and coaching staff delivered some unpalatable home truths inspired Australia’s revival.

‘‘We were very critical,’’ Fox said. ‘‘They were very critical of each other.

‘‘We held everyone to account, every single goal we’ve let in in this tournament, we looked at.

‘‘It was a painful process but one that paid dividends today, because the players said: ‘That’s not going to happen again.’’’

Campbell said his teammates gained motivation by watching their female counterparts, the Stingers, beat China in their quarter-final.

Stingers coach Greg ‘‘Dumpa’’ McFadden says his team have a feeling of invincibility in their quest for the gold medal after their miracle win.

Australia advanced for a blockbuster semi-final with old rivals the US on Tuesday after sinking the Chinese in a penalty shoot-out.

Three times during the quarter-final the Stingers appeared down and out.

McFadden said his players had shown their mental toughness under extreme pressure and were now feeling the could conquer any adversity.

‘‘Oh look, nothing’s going to stop us,’’ McFadden said.

‘‘We’ve just got so much heart ... they showed more heart than friggin’ Phar Lap.’’

Rippon said she never doubted Australia, who won all three of their group games, would find a way to get out of jail against China.

Asked if she now felt the Stingers were destined to win gold, Rippon replied: ‘‘Absolutely. This team definitely is here to try to win gold. I just knew that the spirit and the heart in this team, we were going to keep fighting back.’’

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