The Aussie Spirit are on the board in Tokyo, defeating Italy 1-0 Picture: @WBSC/Twitter

Day -1 of the Tokyo Olympics saw two Australian sides get off the mark and a number of fancied football sides fall short of expectations.

It was a day full of success for the Aussies as both the softball and men’s football teams claimed their first respective victories. For all your Tokyo 2020 coverage, stay tuned to The Inner Sanctum’s Olympic hub and the Olympics Central.

Aussie Spirit sky high at Tokyo Olympics

Australia’s softball team kept their medal hopes well and truly alive with a tense 1-0 victory over Italy at the Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium.

The Australians opened the scoring through Taylah Tsitsikronis, making it home on a two-out single via Jade Wall.

Australian pitcher Kaia Parnaby was instrumental throughout, pitching 6.2 innings before Ellen Roberts was brought in to ice the game, an important result for Australia.

The loss was Italy’s second in two days, leaving them firmly behind in the race for a podium finish.

The United States of America managed to defeat rivals Canada off the back of some fantastic pitching from 35-year-old Monica Abbott.

Perhaps the pick of the bunch on Day -1 was the tussle between Mexico and Japan.

Japan looked in control heading towards the end of the match but Mexico pulled itself back into contention, forcing an eighth inning.

Japan, in the end, came out on top, winning 3-2 in a nail-biter.

Football favourites fail to fire

It was an opening day full of upsets as the men’s football got underway at the Tokyo Olympics.

Heavily fancied Spain failed to find the back of the net against a resilient Egypt in game one of the ‘Group of Death’, the match finishing in a 0-0 stalemate.

Spain star Dani Ceballos left the field after ending up on the receiving end of an overzealous challenge, an apparent ankle injury a major concern for Spain.

However, the draw was not to be the group’s biggest surprise of the day.

In the other fixture, rank outsiders Australia kept a clean sheet against Argentina and managed to run out two goal winners in an enthralling contest.

The Olyroos hit the front early through Lachlan Wales and on the stroke of half time, the game was swung even further in favour of the Olyroos as Argentine Francisco Ortega was sent off for a dubious second yellow card.

The yellow card trend continued into the second half with seven Australians cautioned throughout the 90 minutes.

Australia doubled its lead with a stunning strike from substitute Marco Tilio in the 80th minute and held on for the remaining 10 minutes.

There were feel-good stories across Oceania as the Olywhites claimed their first ever Olympic victory.

New Zealand went into the game against South Korea as firm underdogs but a second half strike from veteran forward Chris Wood was enough to get them over the line in a famous win.

Elsewhere, France suffered a shock 4-1 defeat at the hands of Mexico, with France’s only goal coming from the penalty spot.

Mexico outclassed its European opponents, keeping the ball well and creating a plethora of chances.

A 10-man Ivory Coast clung on to a 2-1 lead to run out victors against a dogged Saudi Arabia and Romania took care of Honduras, thanks to an own goal from Honduran defender, Elvin Oliva.

Aside from host nation Japan, who defeated South Africa 1-0, Brazil were perhaps the only fancied team that lived up to the hype.

They picked Germany apart with Everton forward Richarlison netting three times in the first half to claim his hat-trick.

Nadiem Amiri got one goal back for the Germans and then late in the piece, Ragnar Ache headed home from a free-kick to make it 3-2.

Brazil saw out the remaining eight minutes and eventually claimed the 4-2 win with Paulinho putting the icing on the cake in added time.

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Eleventh hour Ed makes late run for Olympics

With two days of sport in the books, you would be forgiven for thinking that selection for Australia’s Olympic squad was done and dusted.

Enter Ed Trippas, the 23-year-old steeplechase athlete who qualified for Tokyo just one day before the opening ceremony on Friday July 23.

Trippas needed to post a time of 8:22.00 and after a number of setbacks in the qualifying process, he made the decision to train as much as he could, right up until the end of the qualifying period.

What a decision that turned out to be as just under three hours before the cutoff, he posted a time of 8:19.60, a new personal best and comfortably ahead of the Olympic requirement for the 3000m steeplechase.

A story that reminds us exactly what the Olympics is all about, a young man realising his dream after completing years of rigorous training.

Overcome with emotion, he called his parents in tears. Now, the country is behind him, Australia’s latest Olympian.

For all your Tokyo 2020 coverage, stay tuned to The Inner Sanctum’s Olympic hub and the Olympics Central.

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