Photo: Emily Mogic Photography 

It would an understatement to say that the preparation for the Matildas heading into the 2014 Asian Cup was not ideal.

Defending champions, the priority to was to qualify for the 2015 Women's World Cup with anything after that a bonus.

Australia and Stajcic signalled their intentions when they went on the attack against World Champions Japan. There was plenty to like about the match (Caitlin Foord's goal!) but there were also lessons to learn when Japan turned up the pressure.

The second match saw fired up Asian Cup debutante Jordan put Australia under physical pressure. It took most of the half for the Matildas to find a way past the Jordanians with Kate Gill put the Matildas on the path to eventual victory.

The final group game saw Australia meet Vietnam with the hosts also proving stubborn to overcome but overcome they did with 2-0 win punching a ticket to Canada 2015.

Qualification secured, the Matildas then went on to face Korea Republic in the semi final. A tight first half, Australia got on top in the second 45 to win 2-1 and book a place in the second consecutive Asian Cup final.

Meeting Japan in the decider, the friendly rivals again played a game of cat and mouse as they Nadeshiko and then the Matildas enjoyed periods of dominance.

In the end it was Japan who took advantage of their chance to win 1-0 and end Australia's reign as Asian champions.

It was to be Australia's final international of 2014 with the signs positive for the World Cup campaign.