The women’s football team in Australia has long since captured the hearts and minds of its legion of soccer fans. However, for Coach Alen Stajcic, who went to France this weekend for next year’s World Cup draw, it’s his player’s minds with which he is concerned about the most. “In terms of preparation, this is the best team, both tactically and technically,” Stajcic stated. “However, I also believe that the team is mentally prepared and that’s the most significant factor for me. The biggest hurdle has always been mentality when it comes to Australian teams, and this has certainly been overcome this time around. Everyone believes that this women’s football team can win.”
Australia, becoming world champions in a sport fighting for space in a flooded domestic market. It might have seemed an imaginary notion previously, but not anymore. The Matildas are currently ranked 6th in the world and is patiently waiting to be seeded once the groups are decided.
The Team to Beat is the USA
There are several nations who will make their way to France, each with their own dreams and ambitions to dominate the world on a global scale. Germany, the European heavyweights, along with France as the host nation, are considered 2 of the 3 favorites. However, the United States will undoubtedly be the biggest obstacle for any team in the World Cup. They have the winning mentality and the knowledge of winning as they’ve already won a World Cup before.
Alanna Kennedy, the midfielder for the Matilda’s, believes any country that is currently on the Top 10 in the world will pose a challenge for America. “One cannot deny that it will be extremely difficult. We have loads of small steps to take along the way to eventually reach it. However, we are highly determined that we will reach the end victorious,” Kennedy stated.
Taking the Top Sport in the World Cup
Australia has certainly earned their spot in the conversation. Their first ever victory against the United States took place in 2017 on their own soil which made the world notice them instantly. However, Stajcic believes it happened much sooner during the 2016 Olympic Games against Japan. “The victory over Japan was a significant turning point for Australia when it comes to optimism and belief in how good we actually can be.”
It created a series of jaw-dropping performances. The win over the United States formed part of a Nations Tournament where Brazil and Japan were also outplayed. The team’s momentum furthered during two friendlies against Newcastle and Penrith where they managed to win both. The results have unfortunately been less extraordinary during 2018, but the performances have remained exactly the same, if not better. Just to give you an idea of how good the Matilda’s actually are, they were the only team from two that managed to draw against the United States, a team that claimed 15 victories from 17 matches.