Alen Stajcic says he loves the growing rivalry between his Westfield Matildas and Brazil as the two nations get set to resume hostilities in their two-match friendly series.
The Westfield Matildas take on the Samba Stars at a sold-out Pepper Stadium in Penrith next Saturday (Sept 16), before another clash in Newcastle three days later.
The South Americans – with superstar Marta in their squad - will be after revenge following their 6-1 demolition by Australia at the recent Tournament of Nations in America.
BRAZIL NOW A MAIN RIVAL
“It’s really become a grudge match against Brazil over the last three years,” Westfield Matildas boss Alen Stajcic said.
“We knocked them out of the World Cup, this tiny little non-football playing nation like Australia beating the powerhouse of Brazil.
“We really hurt them there by knocking them out of the World Cup but similarly they did the same thing to us at the Rio Olympics.
“Naturally with two such big moments for both teams its developed a great rivalry, a healthy rivalry, but a great rivalry between the two teams.
“We’ve traded blows over four or five matches in the last two years so this is the next chapter for both teams as we evolve and prepare for our respective major tournaments coming up.”
WE’LL BE READY TO FIRE
With many of the Westfield Matildas squad playing across several continents, some of Stajcic’s players won’t arrive in Sydney until Tuesday or Wednesday.
While it’s a challenge, Stajcic is confident it won’t affect their preparations ahead of the highly-anticipated matches.
“The thing that gives me a lot of comfort is the professionalism and the maturity we have in this group to be able to come in and switch focus to the national team immediately and then to be able to produce excellent results at training and then transfer it to the game,” Stajcic said.
“We showed that in the Tournament of Nations where we came together so quickly and performed at a high level consistently over the three matches.
“Every moment we get together is precious. The players will know our days are choc-full of football content whether it’s on the field or off the field.
“We’re always looking at things we can do better whether its video sessions, meetings, treatment or whether it’s training. We’re always looking for things we can do together and improve together as a group.
“The players are extremely adept at coming in in such a short time frame and responding to the requirement of our team and the desire to make our team even better.”