Football Federation Australia (FFA) is on dangerous ground.
Bruised but elated after their Brazil triumph, the Matildas have acknowledged that expectations on their shoulders played a huge role in their World Cup blip against Italy.
But having righted their ship with their miracle in Montpellier, they’ve vowed to make the most of their World Cup reprieve by booking a place in the knockout rounds.
For the first time, the Matildas were a top seed at the World Cup and carried the burden of being one of the favourites going into the tournament.
Lydia Williams, the country’s first-choice goalkeeper, said the circumstances didn’t suit Australia heading into the Italy game – but the loss allowed the Matildas to revert to their favourite position.
“We always do better as an underdog team,” she said.
“That’s what we came into the (Brazil) game seen as, from everyone, except us.
“It was guts … pure sweat and blood and tears, and playing for the jersey. Playing for Australia. Playing for our family and friends.
“For us it really means the world and now we’ve got that confidence back, we’ve got that belief back and we’re taking it to the next level.”
The underdog tag allowed Sam Kerr to deliver her already-infamous “suck on that” quote, which captured the attention of the nation and delighted her teammates.
Upon hearing it, Steph Catley smiled and said “of course she said that”, while Williams just burst out laughing.
“Everyone thought our backs were against the wall and nothing was going to happen…That’s when we perform best,” Williams said.
Catley acknowledged the Matildas were still learning how to be a pacesetter.
“It’s been different for us. Coming in there was a lot of expectation, there was a lot of hype,” she said.
“We didn’t want it to be the way our tournament was going to go.
“The (Brazil) fightback was unreal and I think it sets us up for the rest of it.”
The Matildas moved camp to Grenoble, in the French Alps, on Friday ahead of Wednesday morning’s (AEST) clash with Jamaica.
Elise Kellond-Knight said no one in camp was underrating the Jamaicans, who have lost their opening two games.
“They’re a decent team, they’re dangerous, they’re unpredictable so we’ll have to be on our game against them and it’s another challenge we face,” she said.
“There’s a long way to go. This tournament is a marathon so we can’t get overly excited after one win.”
Kellond-Knight said she hoped any wavering fans would have come back to the fold after their comeback against Brazil.
“I think it’s safe to say we would have won a bit of support back after that game … How could you not want to support a team like this?”