Singapore's netballers finished the preliminary pool stage in the World Cup with one win and two losses after yesterday's 75-31 thumping by world No. 6 Malawi in Sydney.
But head coach Ruth Aitken is adament that the Republic's campaign officially starts now as they aim to boost their world ranking.
Singapore, ranked world No. 15, now move on to a qualification round, grouped with Trinidad and Tobago (10), Samoa (13) and either Zambia (16) or Fiji (7).
If the Republic do well in this round, they could vie for ninth to 12th spot in the World Cup.
"We have done well so far but we have not (received) our final rankings yet, so we can't put the cart before the horse," said Aitken.
TIME TO LIFT WORLD RANKING
The next couple of days are important for us to get to the ninth to 12th placing, otherwise we'll be in 15th and 16th...
RUTH AITKEN Singapore netball coach
"We have had a good start but we did not bring out an A game against South Africa (Singapore lost 21-69 to the world No. 5 on Saturday).
"But even though we lost the game tonight (against Malawi), our quality of play was better and the players were more tenacious.
"It is going to be a tough period ahead for us. We have to win at least two out of three games.
"The next couple of days are really important for us to get to the ninth to 12th placing, otherwise we'll be in 15th and 16th and we'll have to scramble to get off the bottom of the table.
"It's about jumping harder, running harder, passing faster and letting the ball go and going back to playing our own game."
Singapore - who finished 15th out of 16 teams in the 2011 World Cup - could not cope with Malawi's physical and fast-paced game.
Goal shooter Charmaine Soh and goal attack Chen Huifen managed only 35 attempts between them, converting 23.
Yu Mei Ling came on in the fourth quarter, converting three of four shots, as Singapore shot 69 per cent overall, compared to Malawi's 90 per cent.
Singapore goalkeeper and captain Micky Lin remains upbeat.
"Our next round is very important for us. If we are able to execute what we did today and bring it onto our next three games, we have a really good chance (to improve on the last World Cup's results).
"Almost everyone is of a higher rank than us, so we have to be confident and consistent in playing smart for our following games."
Soh noted that going back to the basics will be important "since we are not as tall, fast or physically big compared to the other teams.
"Our side was much better today and we have really picked ourselves up attack- and defence-wise. We are adapting to the world stage here so we have to play a fast game and hopefully improve."
Singapore will play Samoa in the qualification rounds at 10.20am (8.20am Singapore time) tomorrow at the Allphones Arena, Sydney Olympic Park. The two sides met twice during last year's Netball Nations Cup and Samoa won both encounters.