Stajcic relied on family and friends to help give him hope, and it's an experience he feels has made him better as a coach and one that has helped him relate even more to the Mariners.

"I've got a strong family unit who were there in the tough times and a good friendship network as well," he tells FTBL.

"That's vital when you when you're in tough times like that, so I can only be thankful and grateful to them."

Among the supporters were two of his assistant coaches at the Matildas, Paul Jones and Nahuel Arrarte who quit in protest over the FFA's action.

"Both of them sacrificed the World Cup to show support and loyalty and a massive amount of integrity as well," said Stajcic.

He admits he was disappointed by what happened to the Matildas in France, but highlights the increasing quality of women's football around the world.

"I was a little disappointed," he told the FTBL Podcast. "I want to see the Matildas and Socceroos succeed.

"Right from when I started with the Matildas, our goal was to become one of the best teams in the world and by the time I'd finished, I think we were pretty close to being one of the best.

"I think everyone who who's grown up in football in this country – we've always had that underdog mentality, wanting to beat and and compete with the big guns around the world and show that we can stand on our own two feet.

"I think that's going to be a continuous battle for both the Matildas and the Socceroos going forward."




He added: "That women's football is now become so competitive is really positive for football and for women's football around the world.

"The fact that in countries which probably didn't care about it so much in the past, like Spain and Italy, and some of those Latino countries are starting to take women's football a little bit more seriously just shows how big the sport is getting so quickly.

"I just saw Bocca beat River Plate and there was 6000 people in Argentina - real football countries taking it seriously.

"And big crowds in Spain, in Italy, for club football in England now, the rise of Manchester City and Manchester United are in their premier league now as well.


On the sidelines: At Central Coast Mariners training

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"The Champions League for women as well now – the international scene is just a reflection of how much more investment in time and care is being put into the game.

"Looking forward to the future, I think that there are some real positives for women's football around the world.

"But the fact that our players are already on the cusp of being the best players in the world really means that we can stamp our authority as a national team."