Striker Kyah Simon has lauded the influence of coach Alen Stajcic in instilling a new wave of confidence in the Westfield Matildas ahead of Monday’s (AEST) round of 16 clash with Brazil.
Simon – a two goal hero in Australia’s crucial win over Nigeria – says the team’s eye-catching style is a reflection of the culture that Stajcic has created since taking control of the side in September last year.
“Having ‘Staj’ as coach, he’s really imbedded a strong team culture off the pitch for us to buy into and I think that’s really reflected on the pitch in the way that we perform,” Simon said.
“Something as little as belief can go a long way in a team. Just the way that we play, we’re so much more confident within ourselves and each other.
“We’ve learnt that we can match it with some of the world’s best teams. We can definitely take some confidence from the group stage.
“We felt in the first game against the USA we dominated parts of the game. A dominant team like the US, if we can match it with them than we can really match it with anyone. “
Australia will meet a red-hot Brazil outfit on Monday for a spot in the quarter finals, with the Samba Queens cruising through the group stage with wins over Korea Republic, Spain and Costa Rica.
The Matildas have suffered defeats at the hands of the South Americans at the previous two FIFA World Cups and Simon admitted there would be an element of revenge motivating the Aussies on Monday.
“It’s going to be a really good match-up. I guess it’s going to come down to the team that possesses the ball the best on the day but also the one that finishes their chances,” she said.
"We played them in the first group match in 2011 and they beat us 1-0. We’d like to think we’ve got a little bit of revenge to get back so that’s a motivation heading into this game."
A relaxed Simon acknowledged that extra-time and penalties were a distinct possibility against Brazil and didn’t hesitate when asked if she would be volunteer to take a spot kick.
“I’ve always been a keen one on penalties. I like the big occasions and obviously I’m confident on previous history of taking a penalty,” she said.
“I’d like to think that my teammates and the coaching staff would have faith in me if I was to stick up my hand.”