Alen Stajcic expects Brazil will be fired-up for the clash with the defending champions Westfield Matildas in Friday morning’s opening match of the Tournament of Nations.
Australia and Brazil has forged quite a rivalry over the last few years, which has included some epic clashes at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the 2016 Olympics, as well as last year’s Tournament of Nations and friendly matches.
The Westfield Matildas have won the last three games between the two nations, including a 6-1 drubbing in the competition 12 months ago.
And with superstar Marta in good form and ready to lead the South Americans, Stajcic believes they’ll be out for revenge due to Australia’s rececent dominance.
“The last time we played them they walked off pretty unhappy having been beaten by ‘little old Australia’, the country that doesn’t really play football, beating the football powerhouse,” Stajcic told https://matildas.footballaustralia.com.au/.
“They [Brazil] obviously weren’t very happy with that [3-2 loss] up in Newcastle [last September].
WATCH THE WESTFIELD MATILDAS IN ACTION AT THE TOURNAMENT OF NATIONS WHEN THEY TAKE ON BRAZIL, USA AND JAPAN FROM 27 JULY LIVE ON FOX SPORTS
“There will obviously be a little bit of tension there and certainly rivalry. But it’s great for us to experience playing teams like that.
“They are ranked above us now [Brazil 7, Westfield Matildas 8]. We know it’s going to be a tough game.”
The Westfield Matildas have had just a few days together in camp in Kansas City to prepare for the clash.
While it’s only been a short preparation, the 44-year-old coach is confident the team is ready to defend their Tournament of Nations crown.
“Most of the squad is in the middle of their season in America so they are all hitting their straps,” Stajcic said.
“As long as we can collectively get together as a group and have the same team chemistry we’ve had over the last period of time, there’s no doubt we’re going to be a strong competitor during this tournament.
It’s been a big couple of days for the Westfield Matildas boss, who has been unveiled as one of 10 candidates for the FIFA Best Award as the best coach in women’s football.
While delighted with his nomination, Stajcic preferred to switch praise to his players and staff in their contribution to his success.
“It’s really an acknowledgment of the team rather than the coach. The better the team is performing, the coach sometimes gets acknowledged,” he said.
“We’ve done extremely well in the recent past as a group and that means we have an excellent coaching staff, medical staff…all our staff have been fantastic.
“The players have been fantastic over the last period of time and sometimes that reflects on the coach so really it’s a team thing.”
Brazil v Westfield Matildas
Date: Thursday, 26 July 2018 (local)
Venue: Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, Kansas
Kick-off: 3.15pm (local) (6.15am AEST – Friday, 27 July 2018)
Broadcast: LIVE in Australia on FOX SPORTS 507