AAP Soccer

Stajcic confident of Matildas’ WC tilt

By AAP Newswire

Coach Alen Stajcic insists Australia will head to next year's Women's World Cup in France confident they can be genuine title contenders.

The world ranked No.6 Matildas will face Brazil, Italy and Jamaica in Group C at a glittering draw in Paris on Sunday.

Stajcic is convinced his side can better its inspired ride to the quarter-finals in Canada three years ago.

"Looking at this World Cup and the last, the two things that have changed in our team is a real genuine belief that we can beat anyone on any given day and we also have a real maturity in the group," he said.

"Heading to 2015, we had a small group of players who were 21 to 23 years of age, had probably 40-odd caps under their belt and on the cusp of becoming elite players.

"Four years down the track and most of our key players have between 70 to 100 caps, are 24, 25, 26 years of age, have been in the national team for 10 years and most have been to two or three World Cups.

"We've beaten the best nations on earth and competed with Olympic gold medallists, World Cup winners and finalists."

Australia will fancy their chances of topping group C but Stajcic admitted their three opponents cannot be underestimated.

The Matildas lost to Brazil at the 2016 Rio Olympics in a quarter-final shootout but have won all four matches since - and beat them at the 2015 World Cup when they claimed a superb 1-0 victory to reach the last eight.

"We know them and they know us so well. Brazil will be a really tough game," Stajcic said.

"Jamaica are probably the hardest to prepare for as they've only recently started playing at a higher level."

Stajcic admitted there will be a sense of unfinished business against Italy in the Matildas' opening match on June 9.

They will look to atone for the Socceroos' last-gasp 1-0 round of 16 defeat to the Azzurri at the 2006 men's World Cup, in which they sunk by a stoppage-time penalty.

"I have reflected on that game and the heartache it caused our country," Stajcic said.

"There will certainly be a little bit of hurt left from that game and hopefully we can do what we can to avenge that result."

Stajcic said preparation will be key to the Matildas' hopes and is confident that if they get their build-up right they will be a force to be reckoned with in France.