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Sky's the limit for giant-killing Matildas

MATILDAS coach Alen Stajcic has laid down the challenge for his players after an incredible 3-2 win over Brazil in front of a record crowd in Newcastle.

The Matildas have continued to steal the headlines in Australia as fans get on board one of the most exciting, engaging teams in the country.

Already, the Matildas will rise to a top five FIFA world ranking when they are next released. And with 16,829 on hand to witness the epic showing, Stajcic has only one thing in mind - the future.

"I spoke to the players and said 'this is a warm up for the World Cup'," Stajcic told Fox Sports.

"If we end up hosting a World Cup [in 2023] we might end up with 40 or 50,000 people. You've seen how the players have responded, so mature, so professional.

"The resilience to go 1-0 down and not be fazed when we weren't in the game for the first 10 minutes. To bounce back and play our game and get back into the game is exactly what we want to be."

 

Steph Catley of the Matildas (right) looks for support
Steph Catley of the Matildas (right) looks for support DARREN PATEMAN

Incredibly, the starting line up of the Matildas boasted an average age of just 24, a sign of just how much the team can grow, peaking together at the right time.

"They've had a good breeding ground coming through Asia [AFC] as kids with the Young Matildas and Under 17s," explained Stajcic.

"It's the school of hard knocks playing against North Korea, South Korea, China and Japan. Now they're 23 and 24, they've gone through all that and come out the other end.

"They know how to deal with those situations, even when Brazil were trying to get a little bit rough our girls know how to respond. It's a real sign of growing maturity and hopefully it bodes well for the future."

He added in the post-game press conference: "This week has been ground breaking, a turning point for the game. We'll be looking back in 10 years' time and saying this will be the week football turned in Australia.

"I don't like calling it women's football. It's just football. Everyone just came out here and enjoyed the night ... when you play like that, it's a reward to play in front of a crowd like that."

Having made history on Australian soil, the Matildas can now look towards a jam-packed road ahead, with hopes of one day hosting the 2023 World Cup.

 

Here is the road ahead for the Matildas ...

October 2017: The next FIFA international window falls the week before the start of the new W-League season, with talk that the Matildas are hoping to play a top European nation in Europe in the October 16-24 week.

November 2017: November 20-28 acts as another chance for FFA to showcase the Matildas to the Aussie public.

2018 Asian Cup: Then the real stuff begins, with the Asian Cup to be played in Jordan. In the last two Asian Cups, the Matildas have come home with the trophy and been runners up. April 7-22 are the dates in Jordan, with the top five teams qualifying through to the World Cup in France.

2019 Women's World Cup: Is the hype real? Already plenty of fans are getting excited about the prospect of winning the next World Cup. Having now won seven and drawn the other of their last eight games against top 10 opponents, the Matildas are growing at the right time.

2020 Tokyo Olympics: Soon after the Women's World Cup will be the gruelling qualification process to reach the Tokyo Olympics. By reaching Rio, the Matildas ended a 12 year absence and they will be hoping to go back-to-back and better their quarter-final exit in 2016.

2023 Women's World Cup: Could this be hosted by Australia? That's the aim of FFA who are in the bidding process to host FIFA's showpiece women's event. By 2023, stars such as Kerr, Catley and Foord will be 29 to 30.

Topics:  brazil international friendly matildas sam kerr world cup

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