Was this the greatest week in Australian women’s soccer history?
The Matildas’ triumph at the Tournament of Nations certainly felt like it.
Impressive results — three wins over sides ranked in the top 10 — came from confident and bright Australian performances.
Consider the following.
A first-ever triumph over world No.1 and world champions USA.
A 4-2 demolition of regional rivals Japan.
And a rampant 6-1 defeat of Brazil, a year after the heartbreak of being knocked out of the Olympic Games by the South Americans on penalties.
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In all, 11 goals — including four to Sam Kerr — to six goalscorers.
And the chance to raise a first trophy since the groundbreaking 2010 Asian Cup triumph.
The results should see Australia rise from world No.7, overtaking sixth-ranked Japan at least.
Does coach Alen Stajcic consider the Matildas to be at their highest-ever stocks?
“Possibly. But I don’t care to be honest. That’s for other people to judge,” he said.
To Stajcic, what’s most important is to focus ahead at the bigger goals — the 2018 Asian Cup and 2019 World Cup.
“We’ve got to keep level headed, keep our feet on the floor and keep thinking about what the big picture is,” he said.
“For us that’s next year and the year after.
“This lays a good platform, adds to all the things we’re doing on and off the field … all the things we’ve all bought into together as a united group.”
Veteran striker Lisa De Vanna, one of a handful of players remaining from their 2010 Asian Cup win, said it was a “very big” win.
“It’s a massive one because it’s in the US, we’re playing three top 10 nations,” she said.
“We won the tournament without relying on other results and we won comfortably.
“It’s right up there but at the same time we haven’t won a World Cup or achieved anything at an Olympics and that’s what it all comes down to.
“These are little stepping stones to show we can do it.”
Stajcic said the improved ranking was about more than vanity.
“The gap from first to fifth is maybe too big but we’ll bridge the gap; that’s important,” he said.
“We want to be seeded at the next World Cup. It’s not our main priority but we want to be in the top five so we can get seeded.”