Stajcic: Matildas out to create history

Alen Stajcic says the Westfield Matildas have done everything possible to ensure they create history in Monday morning’s (AEST) round of 16 clash against Brazil.

Stajcic declared his side was battle-hardened and not in awe of the Samba queens as the Aussies chase their first-ever win in the knockout phase of a senior World Cup.

“With the work this team has done and with the preparation we’ve done I feel calm and relaxed because I know we’ve done everything we can do to be as good as we can,” the Matildas boss said at the pre-match press conference.

“Our goal when we started was to go into every match and really be a 50-50 chance to win that match and not go in in awe of any opposition or hope to get a lucky win.

“We’re in the knockout stages and Australia has never won a knockout game in the men’s or women’s World Cups so it’s a big game for the country.

“But for us I truly believe if we play our best football we’ll be the winners tomorrow.”

Stajcic hinted there could be a couple of changes to his starting XI as he looks to freshen up his side while a couple of players are “nursing wounds”.

The Matildas have lost to Brazil at the last two World Cups but both their coach and skipper Marta were glowing in their praise of Australia’s improvement at this tournament.

Told of the Brazilians’ kind words, Stajcic said: “I’m not bothered what other people think about us whether it’s good or bad.

“It’s always great to hear compliments from opposition coaches or fans or media but really it’s all irrelevant.

“We’re focusing on what we can do to be the best we can be. We know we’re coming up against a tough team with some world class players.

“I’m confident in our team because we’re battle-hardened now.”

Midfielder Elise Kellond-Knight has been one of the Matildas best at the tournament so far and admits this will be another huge challenge for the young side.

But she has no doubt they have the tools to overrun Brazil and progress to the quarter-finals.

“Our speed is a strength, we’re a very dynamic team and I think the Brazilians may have a bit of a weakness in their backline with their pace,” Kellond-Knight said.

“So if we can exploit that we’ll end up with a really good result.”