Alen Stajcic : Matildas targeting Olympic success

The better team won - Stajcic
Westfield Matildas boss Alen Stajcic says his young squad will use their FIFA World Cup heartache to fuel their desire for an Olympic medal in Rio next year.

The Matildas’ incredible run at the tournament in Canada came to a disappointing end as they lost 1-0 to Japan in Sunday’s (AEST) quarter-final.

While the pain of defeat will take a while to subside, Stajcic is taking plenty of positives from his side’s history-making performances.

Buoyed by their progression on the world stage and with the majority of the squad still in their early 20’s or younger, the future looks incredibly bright for the Matildas.

And the coach has already set his sights on making an even bigger impact at the 2016 Olympic Games.

“Most of them are young players, so it’s a heartbreaking experience for all of us,” Stajcic told reporters after the defeat to Japan.

“I’m proud of how we performed in a World Cup and I know there’s so much growth.

“We don’t want to compete with the best. We want to beat the best.

“We can grow tremendously, I’m obviously disappointed by the result but, if you look at the big scheme of things, we lost 1-0…against the current world champions.

“By the time the Olympics come around, we want to take some more steps forward.”

The Matildas will aim to book their spot at the Olympics at the final round of qualifying in February next year.

The top two teams in the final round of qualifying will be the AFC’s representatives in Rio.

With no age restrictions for the women’s event at the games – unlike the men’s which is under-23 – Stajcic is able to keep the majority of his squad together for their tilt at a medal.

And he plans to take a leaf out of Japan’s book to help take this brave Australian side to the next level.

“The Japanese girls have been together for five, six, 10 years — they’ve already won a World Cup, Asian Cup, silver medal at the Olympics,” Stajcic said.

“Their chemistry’s fantastic; their technique is superb. Our players, the bulk of our starting line-up are 20, 21, 22. We’ll get there.

“As a country like Australia, we have to get our programs right and our coaches right. It’s not a difficult formula.

“You find the right players, have a good training environment and have the best coaches.”

The Matildas squad is set to begin leaving Canada today, with some to return to Australia while a few others will go on holidays.

Watch the video above to hear what Alen Stajcic had to say at the post-match press conference

Football Federation Australia

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