The Matildas return to Australia hoping the arrival of a familiar foe in Brazil will be the catalyst to a more positive period under Tony Gustavsson.
The Swede’s start to life at the helm has been somewhat underwhelming with wins over New Zealand and Great Britain at the Olympics the only bright spots thus far.
Gustavsson has warned that Australia are playing the long game with growing pains symptomatic of their end goal of winning the home World Cup in 2023.
If there is one opponent, though, who might just spark Australia from their slumber and trigger some much-needed improvement it is Brazil.
“There’s always a certain intensity going out against Brazil, which does make it really exciting,” Matildas midfielder Tameka Yallop told AAP ahead of their first game on home soil in 600 days in Sydney on Saturday night.
“It’s always a game that we get pumped up for. There is some history there so I think we take that out into the field too and really just want to play some good football.
“It’s an exciting time for us but obviously the result is really important, which is what we’re looking for against Brazil.”
The two sides have not met since the 2019 World Cup group stages when Australia came from behind to seal a famous 3-2 victory in Montpellier, France.
Australia are undefeated in their last five outings against Brazil but will aim to use the first of two games in Sydney to put last month’s defeat to Ireland behind them.
Defensive frailties have exposed a need for more solidity at the back, but Gustavsson claimed attack would remain their primary focus
“The identity of the Matildas is always going to be that we take a step forward and that we are aggressive in our pressing game,” Gustavsson said.
“We want to have an attacking mindset with a lot of people in the goal zone and we want to score a lot of goals.
“Our challenge is to stay true to who we are but still defend better.
“You’re definitely going to see a team that will be extremely aggressive. There will be space behind and Brazil will try to utilise (it).
“They have pace but we need to stop that one. When it’s played we need to be able to read it and defend it better.”Internet Explorer Channel Network