Alen Stajcic has spoken of the exhilaration of beating Brazil at the FIFA Women’s World Cup but insists the Westfield Matildas aren’t finished creating history at the tournament.
In a huge moment for Australian football, the Matildas progressed to the quarter-finals after Kyah Simon’s late goal gave them a 1-0 win over the Samba Queens.
It was the first time an Australian side has won a knockout match at a senior World Cup, setting up a quarter-final clash with either Japan or the Netherlands.
“Exhilarating is the word for such a victory against a big powerful football nation,” Stajcic said.
“But there’s still more to come. We’re really happy today, we’ll celebrate tonight but it’s back to work tomorrow because we know we have another potential world champion in our next round.
“The team has just responded amazingly, I can’t express how proud I am of how they see out their tasks, the effort, the execution, the spirit has just been brilliant.
It was a hard-fought contest with momentum shifting throughout before substitute Simon pounced 10 minutes from time.
After Lisa De Vanna’s initial shot was fumbled by the Brazilian ‘keeper, Simon was on hand to smash home the rebound for her third goal of the tournament.
Stajcic produced a master-stroke, keeping both Simon and Gorry on the bench before bringing them on midway through the second half to spark the Matildas attack.
“I just think we’re a dangerous team, were probably one of the most dangerous teams at the World Cup if not the most dangerous team going forward,” he said.
“And our defence was good again today. We had our first ever clean sheet [at a World Cup] two games ago and now we’ve conceded just one in the last three games.
“We’re an attacking team but you are going to have to play good football to break us down. I think we deserved to win, we were the better team on the day and in the key moments we were more dangerous.”
Stajcic says it’s important for the players to enjoy the result but they will quickly switch their focus to Sunday morning’s (AEST) quarter-final.
“It’s family time for the players but come 12.01 we’re focusing on the next game. They’ve got another six or seven hours to enjoy it, reflect, but we’re still half-way through a job,” the Matildas boss said.
“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves and think it’s all roses. We’ve still got a long way to go and we’re going to do it.
“I said before the game that we’re battle-hardened. We’ve come through three really tough games.
“With such a young team you just see so much growth and development. They’re 21, 22-year-old kids that just keep growing every day.
“If they keep growing we can beat anyone in the world.”