Alen Stajcic unfazed as Portugal ends Australia's historic winning streak
Matildas coach Alen Stajcic is refusing to be downbeat despite the end of his team's historic winning run and a spate of injuries that threaten Australia's bid to reach next year's World Cup.
The Matildas' record eight-game winning streak came to an end against Portugal on Saturday (AEDT) with a 0-0 draw at the Algarve Cup.
The result was no great disgrace, even if it came against the lowest-ranked side Stajcic's side have faced in a year.
Australia could still reach the final of the friendly competition with a solid win over China on Tuesday (AEDT) in their final group stage match.
But a month out from the Asian Cup, which doubles as 2019 World Cup qualifiers, there are warning signs for the crucial tournament.
Without superstars Sam Kerr and Lisa De Vanna in the line-up, the Matildas looked one-dimensional against the world No. 38s.
And a growing injury toll could spell disaster for the well-loved team as they head to Jordan for the continental playoffs.
Attackers Caitlin Foord, Kyah Simon and Emily Gielnik are all missing from action in Portugal, and in doubt for the Asian Cup.
Amy Harrison and Eliza Campbell are long-term absentees.
Two Matildas in camp aren't likely to see action in Portugal, with Hayley Raso set to be sent home for treatment and Steph Catley also on the sidelines. And from the draw with Portugal, other injuries have popped up.
Former Asian Player of the Year Katrina Gorry copped a heavy tackle and winced through the draw, while first-gamer Emily Condon managed fewer than 10 minutes after a late challenge.
Stajcic could be down to the bare bones to face China and the ranking match on Thursday (AEDT) but is gritting his teeth and bearing it.
"Unfortunately, we find ourselves with a few injuries at the moment," he said.
"It looks like Hayley Raso may have to travel home in the coming days, and we may have picked up a couple more injuries in the game too.
"This is the situation that we find ourselves in at the moment and we just need to work through it."
The draw means Australia needs to beat China healthily, which they did twice in November, to give themselves the best chance of playing off for first place in the invitational event.
"We can still make the playoff for first place, and hopefully we can achieve that," Stajcic said.
"We're learning important lessons here in Portugal and that is the most important thing at this stage."