After an emphatic come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Brazil, one thing rang true for the Matildas – despite the criticism and negativity endured over the last six months, life under Ante Milicic is good.
It goes without saying, that a happy team is a successful team. The Matildas have weathered their fair share of upheaval with the ousting of Alen Stajcic taking centre stage since January.
Previous to last night’s incredible win, punters had been quick to blame a slump in performance on both the new coach and playing style, but the Matildas have shown nothing but trust, respect, and faith in Milicic’s process.
Player of the Match, Chloe Logarzo said it all when asked what the turning point was for the Aussie side who were down 2-0 just before half time.
“The confidence that Ante instills in us, just to be able to play the way that we play, is something amazing," the midfielder said when dedicating the win to her coach.
“He is really able to just lift us in all the right ways. I think the Australian mentality is to be able to come out swinging when your back is against the wall, we love a good fight.
“Hearing those words from Ante definitely got us going - we kept playing our football and trusted our process.
"The win was definitely for Ante - the criticism is more on his behalf and it's really disheartening for us to hear that because the amount of work he's put in, it's incredible. I don't think people see that, so today was definitely for him."
In an added moment of sentimentality, when almost forgetting her POTM trophy, Logarzo laughed, “Sorry, almost forgot this, wanted to leave it for the coach.”
The mutual admiration was palpable with Milicic singing the praises of his team, noting the negative press the Matildas have received recently, along with the massive shake-up to the squad just months out from the World Cup.
When Milicic was asked how it felt to effectively come back from the brink, he echoed the Matildas war cry of “Never Say Die”.
“Tonight, I must say, it’s one of the finest Australian performances I’ve seen and I’m really, really proud of these girls," he told the post-match press conference.