Westfield Matildas head coach Alen Stajcic was ‘excited’ at the prospect of facing Brazil in the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™.
Australia drew Brazil in Group C, having faced the South Americans in the previous three FIFA Women’s World Cups, as well as in the Tournament of Nations and an international series on home soil.
It was a case of back to the future for Stajcic, who relished the opportunity to take on a team with which Australia has a healthy rivalry.
“The first immediate instinct is: It wouldn’t be a major football tournament for the Matildas unless we had to play Brazil - 2007, 2011, 2015 and now 2019, and the Olympics we’ve crossed with Brazil.
“So very exciting to be playing them again, with and we’ve beaten each other so many times over the past few tournaments so it’s just exciting to be playing them again.”
Australia’s other opponents - Italy and Jamaica - throw up their own surprises which will no doubt present challenges of their own.
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Just like the games against Chile in November, Stajcic is weary of the need to prepare well against our opponents.
“Italy - we haven’t played [them] in a major tournament - good up and coming team, new professional league in Italy.
“Juventus coming into the world of women’s football and professionalising their whole league. Very tough opponent.
“Jamaica’s got so many young girls playing in the American colleges and, again, another emerging nation and first time in the World Cup for them.
“But [they] had a really good qualifying campaign so very, very tough draw for us but very exciting and can’t wait to put all our preparations in place to meet all those three fantastic countries.”
Australia’s first game kicks off against Italy on June 9, 2019 at 1pm local time. The game will be held at Stade du Hainaut, Valenciennes.