A Women's World Cup year and on Tuesday, 10 February the preparations start in a very real sense for Australia.

The Matildas meet perennial AFC powerhouse DPR Korea in Auckland as part of a tri-nations series hosted by New Zealand, whom they will face two days later.

For Australia it is their first competitive match since the 2014 Asian Cup final in May, where they went down narrowly to the World Champions Japan.

It is also the first match officially of the Alen Stajcic era.

For over a dozen years, Stajcic has been in and around women's football and now has the top job.

The murmurings from around the camp are that there have been small but positive changes with the camp generally a happy one.

One thing that has been made evident is there is a clean slate for all on the national radar with Stajcic's first touring squad indicative of this.

So four months, to the day, from their World Cup opener against the United States, what are the questions that need to answered in that timeframe?

1.    Goalkeepers

Up until 6 months ago, this would have been the area of least worry with Lydia Williams, Brianna Davey and Casey Dumont solidly installed as the top three.

However an ACL for Williams and W-League injuries to Davey and Dumont upset the apple cart and opened the door for long time goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri.

Williams' rehab appears to be on track and Davey and Dumont have recovered and will suit up for the NZ tour.

Regardless, the duo will need to keep an eye behind them with the experienced, and driven, Barbieri pushing hard during the training camps.

Another option is Mackenzie Arnold who had an excellent season with Perth Glory but whether there is enough room for her remains to be seen. After all 5 doesn't go into 3.

2.  Defence

A large squad of players were called up for the first three training camps of the year with impressive performances from some unanticipated names bumping off some usual suspects (for the moment).

With Teigen Allen currently out of the frame, there is a question in relation to the right full back position.

The obvious answer is that Caitlin Foord reverts to her career defining role but, with her success at the Asian Cup and during the W-League in a more advanced position, it could be a robbing Peta to pay Paula scenario.

Stajcic, like Sermanni before him, prefers mobility and adaptability in his players, so while there is no patently obvious choice, there is the possibility a new face will be brought forward.

The other defensive question to be answered is in relation to the centre backs.

Since the days of Dianne Alagich, Cheryl Salisbury and Thea Slatyer, the Matildas have yet to find a stable group of three or four interchangeable centre backs for consistent pairings.

Following the 2011 World Cup, there have been a number of different combinations with Laura Alleway, Danielle Brogan, Kim Carroll, Emma Checker, Alanna Kennedy, Clare Polkinghorne and Servet Uzunlar all in the mix.

Into that pool a new/old name can be added with Hayley Crawford returning to the national team set up thanks to a strong W-League season and camp performances. With Brogan also back after a knee re-construction, that centre back question is up in the air more than ever.

3.   Midfield

With an abundance of talent in this part of the pitch, the dilemma relates to personnel and balance.

In Australia's 4-3-3 system, the two positions potentially up for grabs are holding midfield (6) and attacking midfield (10).

The holding role in particular has caused much discussion around the W-League, especially once it became clear Sally Shipard's knees would force her retirement.

Elise Kellond-Knight has held the position in the past 18 months but at club level Carroll took over that role with KK returning to left back (with great effect).

KK, Teresa Polias and the returning Aivi Luik, are adept at reading the play, breaking down opposition attacks and spring boarding Australian attacks.

Polkinghorne, who has been holding down centre back in the last 18 months, is another possibility and has executed the position in the past for club and country.

While KK, Polkinghorne and Polias come easily to the memory, Luik does not.

Part of the 2010 Asian Cup winning squad, it is easy to forget that when injury free Luik is one of the best defensive midfielders in Australia.

Hamstring injuries have hampered her the last two W-League seasons but if she can stay sound, her maturity, experience, game sense and calmness on the ball could be a real boon for the Matildas.

The no. 10 position looks like a straight out battle between the holder of the majority of the 2014 awards Katrina Gorry and the best midfielder of the last W-League season, Emily van Egmond.

Who plays the role is largely contingent on answering the question of the holding midfielder.

Gorry is the more attacking of the two while Van Egmond can potentially play as a deep lying playmaker in the mould of Collette McCallum who, if she can be looked after physically, is another name to add to the equation as well as Nicola Bolger.

4.   Forwards

Going forward is Australia's real strength with blistering speed, mobility and creativity available in abundance.

Stajcic can really take his pick on forward combinations with De Vanna, Heyman, Foord, Raso, Simon, Sykes, Crummer and the injured Kerr, Butt and Gill all in the arsenal.

How it comes together and which trios are put together and preferred are just some of the things to ponder.

The finishing will also need to improve on the Asian Cup with many chances well created often not converted. It hurt Australia in that final and could do so again in the World Cup if not rectified.

At the moment all of this is guesswork on our part.

To paraphrase a famous quote, at the moment there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know.

Those answers will all start come this week against an always tricky confederation rival and fast improving Trans-Tasman neighbour…although only a handful will see the puzzle forming.