Head coach Alen Stajcic says despite recent stellar performances the Matildas’ “expectation is to be in the top three in the world” as the team prepares for their Asian Cup campaign opener against South Korea.
Speaking to Football Bosses’ Tony Pignata and Michael Zappone in the wake of their 5-0 win over Thailand in Perth, Stajcic was pleased with the Matildas’ progress and results but wants the side to push themselves even further.
“We’re not there yet,” he said. “We think we’ve improved and we think we’ve gotten to a good level, but certainly it’s not [our aspiration].
“We know how much more we’ve got to work hard to get to the top three of the world and everyone who’s involved in football knows it’s an easier thing to say than it is to do.”
Stajcic does see “the standard of women’s football getting better and better” thanks to progress in pay disputes but said “more games at home, a more professional W-League [and] a more professional Matildas” all need to be realised for the side to meet their goals.
He dismissed fears the FA Women’s Premier League could consistently entice players from Australia, insisting he doesn’t think “the playing standard is any better than the W-League”, but says this could change “in the next two, three, four years.”
Stajcic believes Australia have a “good chance” of hosting the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, saying recent crowds across Melbourne, Geelong, Penrith, and Perth show “there is a market for our team and women’s football in Australia.”
In the meantime, the head coach will set his sights on the Asian Cup and the Tournament of Nations in the United States starting July 27, where he hopes the Matildas can prove themselves against the world’s best ahead of the 2019 World Cup.
“If [the side] keep growing and improving there’s no doubt we’re gonna get there in the next period of time.”
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