Sam Kerr to start from the bench for the second game in a row as Matildas name unchanged lineup for World Cup quarter final against France
- Recovering from calf injury
- Trained with team this week
- Could play more minutes
Matildas captain Sam Kerr has been named on the bench for the second game in a row as Australia looks to create history in Women’s World Cup quarter final match against France in Brisbane.
The Chelsea striker missed the entire group stage with a calf injury and was only deployed for 12 minutes in the Matilda’s round of 16 win over Denmark.
Now Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson has named an unchanged lineup, rewarding the players that beat the Danes 2-0 to set up the crucial quarter final clash.
The Matildas have never advanced further than the quarter finals at a World Cup and neither has their opposition.
The decision might indicate that Kerr has not fully recovered from the calf injury that has plagued her this World Cup, despite taking part in running drills with Matildas teammates on Friday.
Coach Tony Gustavsson said yesterday that Kerr would definitely start if 100 per cent fit, yet has named her on the bench for the second straight match.
That means the likes of tournament hero Hayley Raso, Mary Fowler, Caitlin Foord and Emily van Egmond will again be called on to provide the offensive punch in the opening exchanges.
‘I want to be very clear in here now to say if Sam is fit to play 90 minutes, she is starting,’ he told reporters. ‘There is not even a question and the team knows it.
‘We’re talking about Sam Kerr here. Whether she is ready to play 90 minutes plus extra time, that’s to be decided tonight. But there is no question whatsoever that if she is, she is starting.’
Kerr poses for selfies as she arrives at Brisbane Stadium for the Women’s World Cup quarter final clash against France
Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson, arriving at Brisbane Stadium today, previously said that Kerr would start if she was 100 per cent fit
Gustavsson also bristled at suggestions starting Kerr would disrupt the rhythm of the Matildas who crushed Canada without her and dispatched Denmark with minimal input from their captain.
‘They’ve been amazing teammates supporting each other,’ the coach said of his players.
‘There’s been no complaints whatsoever in terms of if you start or come off the bench – they know their role and they play their role. And I definitely would never, ever see Sam as a disturbance to the team.’
France have dropped right-back Eve Perriset for Maelle Lakrar, in the only change to their line-up.
The winner will earn a semi-final berth against either England or Colombia, who play later on Saturday, in Sydney next Wednesday.
AUSTRALIA STARTING XI VS FRANCE
Mackenzie Arnold (GK); Steph Catley (C), Alanna Kennedy, Clare Hunt, Ellie Carpenter; Katrina Gorry, Kyra Cooney-Cross, Caitlin Foord, Hayley Raso, Emily van Egmond, Mary Fowler