Sam Kerr at centre of eye-opening development ahead of Matildas clash at World Cup

The Matildas captain hasn't played in any of Australia's three games so far at the Women's World Cup.

Sam Kerr, pictured here at a Matildas training session.
Sam Kerr was spotted on the exercise bike on Friday, rather than with her Matildas teammates. Image: Getty/Vince Rugari

Sam Kerr's availability remains a massive talking point ahead of the Matildas' round of 16 match against Denmark at the Women's World Cup. The superstar striker didn't play in any of Australia's three group games due to a calf injury, but was available off the bench in their last clash with Canada.

The Matildas have remained tight-lipped about if and how much Kerr will play against Denmark, but she appeared to take a huge step at training on Thursday. While Kerr has been limited to walking laps at previous training sessions, she reportedly took part in Thursday's session and was seen with a ball at her feet.

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Only 15 minutes of Thursday's session was open to the public and was intended to be more of a light workout. More intense training sessions were schedule for Friday and Saturday.

However Kerr was spotted on the exercise bike on Friday rather than running with the rest of the squad. She was seen wearing sneakers rather than football boots in what reporter Vince Rugari said was "all part of the plan".

Matildas confident with or without Sam Kerr

Matildas goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold confirmed that Kerr took part in Thursday's session, but said she was on her own program. “She has her own individual plan that she’s doing with the doctor and physio, getting her ready to join in with the team," Arnold said.

“What she had to do, she looked like she was quite comfortable doing it, and she was in high spirits after the (session). So I assumed it all went well.”

Arnold said the Aussies are confident they have the firepower to win the World Cup, even if Kerr's participation is limited. The Matildas scored four goals against Canada as they sent the Olympic champions crashing out.

Sam Kerr, pictured here with Matildas teammates during a training session.
Sam Kerr mingles with Matildas teammates during a training session. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

"The world has now seen what we can do," Arnold said. "We always want Sam on the field and she's a world-class striker, but we've shown now that we have the depth and we can play any combination up front that we can still score goals. If she plays, she plays, if she doesn't, she doesn't. But we have our plan."

Defender Clare Polkinghorne welcomed the selection headache that Kerr's return would bring. A frontline of Caitlin Foord, Mary Fowler, Emily van Egmond and Hayley Raso fired in the 4-0 thrashing of Canada.

"That's a pretty good position to be in for any team," Polkinghorne said. "It just goes to show how our other attacking options have really stepped up and taken their opportunity and if (opponents) cover one of the strikers, then we've got someone else to step up and and take the game."

Matildas ready for Denmark clash at Women's World Cup

The Matildas beat Denmark 3-1 last October, and despite their ruthlessness on transition, are keen to keep the ball better than they did against Canada. "They're a quite possession-based team," Arnold said of the Danes.

"They like to play football, they like to keep the ball, quite technical. They've got Pernille Harder in there as well, who's quite good at finishing.

"I wouldn't say we want them to have the ball too much. We are dangerous on the counter, so that is always part of our plan. But I would hope that we could keep the ball a little bit better than we did against Canada."

Denmark coach Lars Sondergaard said his side would be ready to face Kerr. "She can score goals, she has a fantastic header, she's quick ... she is perhaps the best striker in the world," he said.

"Of course you have to have an eye on her - if she's fit of course. We have played Australia twice in the last couple of years, and Sam Kerr played in both of those games.

"So we know how to deal with her. Even though it's difficult, we know how she plays. We know she can be out of a game and then suddenly she's in the right place at the right moment. If she gets chances like some of the Haitian players got today, I think she probably would score."

with AAP

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