Sam Kerr has admitted doubt over whether she would take part at all for the Matildas at the Women's World Cup in Australia having suffered a calf injury in the lead-up to the tournament. The nation was stunned ahead of the Matildas' group stage clashes when it was announced Kerr would be missing after carrying a calf injury into the World Cup.
Kerr is one of the biggest draw-cards for the Matildas and is one of the biggest names in world football. The Chelsea forward eventually came off the bench against Canada in the third game of the group stage, before featuring from the bench again against France.
'NOT GOOD ENOUGH': Anthony Albanese move backfires on Matildas
The forward started her first game in the semi-final against England and scored the goal of the tournament in the Matildas' 3-1 defeat. However, in a startling admission ahead of the third-placed playoff game against Sweden, Kerr admitted she wasn't sure if she would even take to the field at a home World Cup due to the surprise setback.
“Me being the stubborn person I am, I thought I was going to play the next day (after suffering the injury,” Kerr said on Friday. “I feel massive relief that I’ve been able to step on to the park.
“It was a bit of a rollercoaster for me. I’ve never had a muscle injury, so I didn’t know what I was feeling, how long it was going to take … at some point in the tournament I was thinking I might never play in this World Cup, but I was lucky enough that I was able to get back. Now it’s just the icing on the cake that I could step on the park and help the girls.”
Many are unsure if Kerr will start against Sweden having played 90 minutes against England. Kerr could start off the bench, once again, considering she only just returned to the starting line-up from her calf injury on Wednesday. Coach Tony Gustavsson hasn't given any hints on who will be starting against Sweden.
Sam Kerr ready for Sweden clash in third place playoff
The Matildas still have a chance to claim a medal at their home World Cup with a playoff against Sweden for third place on Saturday. Sweden narrowly lost to Spain in a thriller on Tuesday and are currently ranked the World No.3 team.
Coach Gustavsson was adamant the Matildas would give it their all in a bid to do the nation proud in the final game. And he reiterated the Matildas would put forward the best possible line-up against Sweden.
“I can’t pick (a team) based on emotions,” Gustavsson added. “This is a third-placed game – we’re playing for a medal. I’m going to make sure we have a line-up that is the strongest line-up we can have, but also the strongest finishing line-up.
“I’m going to plan what I think is best for the team in this one game, and not look at it as a bigger picture than that. It’s not about giving players experience just for the sake of giving experience. This is a game to win. We have gone with a strategy where we think relationships and continuity in tournaments is key. It’s just a strategy we believe in.”
On Saturday, it was confirmed Alanna Kennedy would not feature in the playoff game for third having sustained a concussion against France. Kerr doubled down on the coach's message and said the team was ready for one final push. “We want to win the bronze medal,” the forward said.
“To bring a World Cup medal would be amazing. It really feels like we have brought the nation together over football. It feels like we’ve done something amazing for the country … but there is definitely work still to be done.”
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.