Matildas fans have singled out one particular Sam Kerr moment and showered her with praise after the Chelsea forward refused to succumb to injury against Sweden in the third-placed playoff. The Matildas fell short of history on Saturday night having gone down 2-0 to Sweden in a thrilling contest.
The Matildas were rocked early on when Sweden were awarded a penalty when Clare Hunt accidentally clipped Stina Blackstenius' heel in the box. The penalty was correctly awarded, despite the protest, and Fridolina Rolfo converted from the spot.
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However, there was a moment of real tension around Suncorp stadium when Kerr went down clutching her right leg in the second-half. The game was held up in back play as Kerr was in visible pain as Australia held their collective breath.
Kerr was forced to leave the field as concerns grew considering she was clutching at her right calf. The Matildas forward didn't start a World Cup game until the semi-final due to her shock calf injury ahead of the tournament.
Many could have understood if Kerr needed to go off after admitting her worry over the injury ahead of the game. Instead, Kerr gritted her teeth and marched back out onto the field as she attempted to give the Matildas some hope in the playoff clash.
Earlier in the week, coach Tony Gustavsson praised Kerr's influence around the group when her injury could have taken a toll and distracted the squad. Instead, she has acted as a leader.
And Kerr personified this attitude in the game against Sweden as she gave it her all in the dying moments for the fans that have supported the Matildas right until the end. One fan noted that Kerr was 'commitment personified', which will be a lasting legacy for a younger generation of budding footballers in Australia.
👏👏👏 JUST AMAZING. I LOVE SAM KERR. I am so blown away by her and by everything the #Matildas have done for sport and for Australia. Bravo Tillies 😍 #FIFAWWC #TilitsDone #worldcup https://t.co/6sKCwG1x00
— Sunny8585 (@Sunny85851) August 19, 2023
Beautifully said about Sam Kerr, what a star 🌟 Feeling so emotional right now. The World Cup journey ends for Australia to Sweden, but they have transformed sport here for us. That's a win #FIFAWWC #Matildas #SWEAUS https://t.co/8MxyM0R3nQ
— Nedd_A (@NeedA37856342) August 19, 2023
Sam Kerr coming back on while injured. National hero tbh, getting the last minutes of the World Cup in
— Tim Dunne (@brainstormcasts) August 19, 2023
Sam Kerr for Australian of the Year https://t.co/mkJ20c6G1g
— Yasmin Poole (@yasmin_poole) August 19, 2023
Sam Kerr for Australian of the Year! What's she's done for sport and this nation, for recognition and equality is amazing. The same goes for the entire #Matildas team. What amazing women! #FIFAWWC #Swedes #SWEAUS #TilitsDone 👏🙏 https://t.co/nenk7MMrpU
— Tom Tobias (@TomSydney4) August 19, 2023
Ok I am crying again reading this. This is our Sam Kerr, so committed ❤️ What a fantastic run our #Matildas have had at the FIFA Women's World Cup. A great achievement for Australia 💚💛💚💛#FIFAWWC#SWEAUS#Swedes https://t.co/HkHIhpEJwu
— Swal (@swalji1) August 19, 2023
Gutted for Sam kerr, but this tournament just shows how much of a leader she is. Happy for Zećira it's all love 💙 when it's Chelsea.
— Emmanuel Chibuzor (@emmanuelnwoyibe) August 19, 2023
Sam Kerr devastated after brutal Sweden loss
The Matildas players were admittedly devastated after losing the third-place playoff game with Sweden proving too much in the clash on Saturday. Kerr was particularly sad and said it would take time to recover from the emotional loss.
"It will take a while obviously," she said in her post-match interview. "It took me a while to get over the bronze medal match loss to the USA and the sadness comes from just feeling like you missed an opportunity.
"What we've done for the country is amazing, but the bronze medal really, for us as individuals, as a team would have been nice. So it's a bit sad, but we'll get over it and we'll move on and come back stronger."
Teammate Caitlin Foord was adamant the tournament had started something special for the playing group. "We want to do something special. We haven't won anything yet," Caitlin Foord said. "We want to win something. Until we do that I don't think we will be satisfied."
Young superstar Mary Fowler reitereated Foord's comments. "This is the kind of thing that we can use as growth and use to fuel our hunger even more to want to win something in our next tournament," she said.
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