Sam Kerr at centre of fresh injury bombshell before Matildas' World Cup semi-final

The superstar striker was spotted with strapping and ice on her right calf - the other leg to her previous injury.

Sam Kerr, pictured here with strapping and ice on her right calf.

Sam Kerr has been spotted with heavy strapping and ice on her right calf in a shock development ahead of the Matildas' semi-final clash with England at the Women's World Cup. The Matildas will go head-to-head with England on Wednesday night for a place in the final, where Spain awaits after their 2-1 win over Sweden on Tuesday night.

But a potentially game-changing photo of Kerr came to light on Tuesday afternoon that could be disastrous for the Matildas. The superstar striker missed the first three games of the World Cup after injuring her left calf, before coming off the bench in the last two games against Denmark and France.

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She looks to have put her left calf issues behind her, but on Tuesday she was spotted with strapping and ice on her right calf. Nine News captured the moment Kerr walked into the Matildas' team hotel after training with the heavy bandaging and an ice pack on her lower leg.

“Kerr’s right leg, the good leg, was heavily strapped when she returned to the team hotel after training,” Nine News reported. Whether or not the ailment is serious remains to be seen, and there's also the possibility that Kerr and the Matildas could be playing mind games with the media and their opponents.

Matildas coach remains coy on Sam Kerr's fitness

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday evening, Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson made no mention of an issue with Kerr's right calf, and wouldn't be drawn into giving any hints about what her role would be against England. "She pushed through more minutes than we hoped for to be honest," Gustavsson said about Kerr playing 65 minutes in the quarter-final against France.

"One of the reasons why we kept her on the bench was that we were uncertain how many minutes she had coming back from that calf injury but also the limited training minutes she had. The way she pushed through was fantastic and impressive both from a mental and physical aspect.

"She recovered well, she trained today so she's available. There'll be a meeting tonight again to see the best starting 11 and the best finishing 11 and whether we plan for 90 minutes or plan for extra time and those type of decisions. There'll be some tough decisions tonight again, but Sam is definitely available for selection."

Sam Kerr and Matildas teammates at a training session.
Sam Kerr joins her Matildas teammates at a training session before the World Cup semi-final. (Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

England manager Sarina Wiegman said her side can't afford to focus solely on Kerr. "Australia's not just Sam Kerr," Wiegman said bluntly. "Yes, we have a plan and she can play and she can start on the bench. So that's the situation.

"Well, of course she's a threat. She's a very good player, so lots of respect, but yes, there's more than Sam Kerr because at the end it's always a team performance and when a team does really well, an individual can do even better.

"That's the same for Australia, same for England. So yes, a lot of pressure on her because everyone expects things from her and for the team. I think Australia grew in the tournament too, they had some disappointing situations they had to come back from and they did really well. So we expect a very strong Australia."

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Gustavsson piled the pressure on England by suggesting they would be favourites, despite the 10th-ranked Matildas beating World No.4 England 2-0 in a friendly in April. "If you look at rankings, they're favourites," he said. "If you look at where their players play, they have starting players in top clubs and top leagues all over the world - not just 11, they have like 15, 16.

"And then you compare to us: we have bench players in those teams. We have players playing in A-League, we have players playing in mid-table teams in Sweden.

"So if you look at all that and you look at resources financially, obviously they are a massive favourite going into this game. But if you then add the belief we have, but the one thing that we have that they don't have is the support and the belief from the fans and that itself is going to be massive."

with AAP

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