After winning the Tournament of Nations 12 months ago the Matildas head into this year's edition looking to defend their title

By beating the USA for the first time, as well as defeating Japan and Brazil the tournament victory ushered in a new era - one in which the Matildas held no fear against any opposition.

The past 12 months has seen the Australians earn their highest ever FIFA world ranking as well as qualify for next year’s World Cup.

But at the recent Asian Cup the Matildas form hit a speed bump as they struggled for goals.

Even though they made the final and secured qualification for next year's World Cup, coach Alen Stajcic admits he had mixed emotions.

“In terms of performance and moving forward it was a launching pad for us moving up to the Tournament of Nations and the World Cup next year,” he told FourFourTwo.

“But it was a little bit bittersweet. Qualifying for France was the good part but we had high expectation for our team at the Asian Cup.

“Coming second was a bitter pill to swallow especially playing so well in the final, the way we played was probably our best performance in 12 months.”

Even though the Matildas only had one loss In Jordan the team were criticised for their lack of firepower after they only registered one win in their five matches.

While Stajcic said his team was not immune to criticism he feels  the Matildas should be lauded for their achievements in Amman.

“Everyone is allowed to criticise and critique,” he said.

“It’s all acceptable, certainly our performances were a little up and down but when you look at the facts we topped our group that included Japan, South Korea and Vietnam.

“That was no mean feat. We probably didn’t have a great game against Thailand in the semi-final we probably let ourselves down there.

“But we played a really good game against Japan in the final and we should have won that game by a couple of goals but you really have to put the ball in the back of the net to win.”

With next year’s World Championships in France less than 12 months way, Stajcic sees no reason why the Matildas couldn’t lift the trophy.

“No doubt we can win the World Cup,”  he said.

“Over the last year we’ve topped the group at our last four tournaments.

"There was the Asian Cup with Japan and South Korea, the recent Algrave Cup and last year's Tournament of Nations and Algarve Cup.

"Those groups included Holland - the European Champions, Brazil - the South American Champions, the USA - The North American Champions and World Champions and Japan-the Asian Champions.

“There is no doubt we can compete with everyone and beat everyone but in a World Cup you have to put seven of those performances together.

"The team that has consistency throughout the tournament, the rub of the green and momentum will be the one that wins the World Cup.

"There are seven or eight countries that can win it and no doubt we are in that group.