Stajcic confident but wary ahead of Japan clash

Australia coach Alen Stajcic is confident the Matildas can reach the Women's World Cup semi-finals, but he is wary of last-eight opponents Japan.

Reigning world champions Japan booked their place in the quarter-finals with a 2-1 win over the Netherlands on Wednesday (AEST).

The Matildas, who beat Brazil on Monday, and Japan meet in a repeat of last year's Asian Cup final.

Stajcic knows the threat Japan will pose his team.

"They’re passing and movement off the ball is probably the best of any team at the World Cup, so we’ve got a big assignment on our hands – the current world champions and a very good team," he said.

"But as I’ve said before we’re a very good team as well and we’ve been dangerous against everyone and there’s no reason we can’t be dangerous when we play Japan and be a real threat.

"We know we have to be at our best to challenge these great nations that we’ve played already like USA, Sweden, Brazil and now Japan – that’s four of the World Cup finalists in this millennium.

"I’m confident we can beat them but it’s going to be an extremely tough match and we will need to be at our best for 90 minutes."

Stajcic's team faced Japan twice at the Asian Cup, drawing one match and losing the other.

The 41-year-old, who watched Norio Sasaki's women overcome the Dutch, said the Matildas had come a long way since then.

"I think we learnt from the Asian Cup. We had a 2-2 draw with them after we were 2-0 up and we lost the final 1-0 off a corner," Stajcic said.

"I think the biggest thing we’ve learnt is the belief we have in the team, I think if we play to our potential we can match it with the world champions.

"That was 12 months ago and we’ve grown a lot since then on and off the field, and it just gives us great belief that we can match it with the world champions and if we play to our potential we can certainly beat them this time around."