Australia to make late call on Kerr’s fitness

Australia to make late call on Kerr's fitness

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Sam Kerr on the sidelines
Sam Kerr has watched Australia’s last two games from the sidelines

Australia will wait until the last minute to make a decision on captain Sam Kerr’s fitness for Monday’s crucial Women’s World Cup game against Canada.

The Chelsea striker missed Australia’s opening two games with a calf injury.

After beating the Republic of Ireland, the co-hosts suffered a shock 3-2 loss to Nigeria on Thursday to leave them facing a battle to reach the last 16.

“We won’t get confirmation (on her fitness) until the night before the game,” said coach Tony Gustavsson.

“It might even be where we need to test her to see if she can play on game day. That’s how tight it is.

“She’s going to do anything she can to be out there. I know that she’ll want to be out there and she deserves to be out there.”

Kerr, Australia’s record goalscorer, watched from the sidelines in Brisbane as her side took the lead against Nigeria, only for the Super Falcons to fight back and silence the home crowd.

The result leaves the Matildas in third place in Group B and needing a victory over Olympic champions Canada at 11:00 BST in Melbourne on Monday to guarantee a place in the knockout stages.

“If she’s available we’re going to need to come up with a plan together to see what we can do to maximise the potential minutes she has – if she’s available,” added Gustavsson.

Australia had a shortage of attacking options against Nigeria with Mary Fowler missing the game with concussion, while Tottenham striker Kyah Simon is recovering from a long-term knee ligament injury and is yet to feature at the tournament.

However, Gustavsson insisted he was happy with side’s attacking display despite the result.

“We had 28 shots, scored two goals, the attacking game was much, much improved compared to the Ireland game.

“I’m disappointed about the result but I can’t let the result blind the performance.

“I know it’s hard to see, but there is part of this performance that is better than the result shows.”

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