A successful Olympics campaign after the World Cup "failure" is vital for the Matildas because time is running out for this squad, warns former star Heather Garriock.
The Canberra United coach wants Australia's wins over Chile to be a launchpad for the tilt at Tokyo 2020 gold while the current squad is still at its peak.
The Matildas put in back to back wins over the South Americans in front of record crowds over the last few days, winning 1-0 on Tuesday in Adelaide and 2-1 in Sydney on Saturday.
In near identical matches in 2018 – the last matches of previous coach Alen Stajcic – they lost the opening clash 3-2 in Penrith before redeeming themselves in Newcastle with a 5-0 thumping.
Just weeks later, Stajcic was axed and Socceroos assistant coach Ante Milicic was parachuted in to take charge only a few months out from the France 2019 Women's World Cup.
The Matildas has been tipped as favourites before the axe controversially fell on Stajcic, but Australia were eliminated at the first knockout stage, beaten in extra time by Norway in the round of 16.
It was a massive disappointment from a squad that promised so much.
Now Canberra United coach Garriock says the consequences of failing to qualify for Tokyo 2020 will be "devastating."
"This is the golden era, it's still the golden era, it hasn't gone away," said Optus Sport expert Garriock. "There's just been a changing of the guard.
"We need to do better. Hopefully these games against Chile will start the momentum for the Olympics because the World Cup was a failure.
"I am just really hoping personally and from an Australian football point of view that we qualify for the Olympic Games because if we don't, it's going to be devastating."
Garriock blamed the FFA hierarchy for the decision to change the coach on the eve of the World Cup for the disappointing results in France last year.
"When you look at teams like France or the US, they have stability and have had for years now," said Garriock. "We had stability for several years and then we decided to change coach.
"We're not stable when we're trying to change philosophies and the way we're playing. I wasn't surprised by the results. I don't blame the players or the coach, I blame the FFA.
"We now have another opportunity to regain our status of being the golden generation and the darlings of football in Australia – and being one of the top countries in the world.
"We have the opportunity to bounce back with the Olympic qualifiers in January/February.
"But if we look back on this and reflect on the World Cup, it is a moment lost and the one that got away."
She added: "I don't put it down to the players and I certainly don't put it down to Ante Milicic in terms of his coaching – I think he's a great coach.
"But it's very difficult to change a national team and a playing group in such a short amount of time.
"I really do hope that we've learnt from the World Cup and that we can execute something really special coming into the qualifiers.
"Hopefully we qualify for Tokyo – and do what we should do...and that's medal."
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