CHRIS DUTTON August 07, 2012
Opals head coach Carrie Graf says Australia is ready to 'scratch and bite' for a shot at a gold medal. Photo: Christian Petersen
The ''street fighter'' Australian Opals will ''scratch, bite and do whatever it takes to find a way to win'' as they prepare for the team's toughest path to an Olympic Games medal in 16 years.
The Opals finished their pool matches with a tight 72-63 win over Canada on Sunday to secure second place.
But to break through to win an elusive gold medal, the Opals are facing a blockbuster semi-final against the United States in the coming days.
The Opals will play China in the quarter-finals and, assuming they win, the gold-medal clash of the past three Olympics will be played in the semi-final. Carrie Graf said her team's focus was toppling China.
But the potential clash with the US before a medal is up for grabs will add a spark to the Opals for their next match.
''We have street fighters and everyone in our team plays like Aussies, we're not going to roll over in any game,'' Graf said.
''If you had our girls on street and they had to get themselves out of something, I think we've got some big, strong women there.
''They won't shy away from a dog fight and that's one of the strengths of this team.''
The Opals' plans to meet the US in another gold-medal match were dealt a massive blow when they lost to France in their second match.
They still had a chance to claim top spot, but Russia delivered a questionable performance to lose to France and ensure they remained on the opposite side of the draw as the reigning gold and silver medalists.
Russia led by five at the end of the first quarter, but scored just six points the second quarter and lost the match by 11.
Graf said last week that European teams ''strategically'' lost games to ensure favourable draws.
The IOC kicked eight badminton players out of the Games for manipulating results to help them chase medals.
''I think France have had a good tournament and when it got out to a lead it was obvious France was going to get top[in the pool],'' Graf said.