FIFA Women's World Cup
Australia star Sam Kerr says she'll play against Denmark in round of 16
FIFA Women's World Cup

Australia star Sam Kerr says she'll play against Denmark in round of 16

Published Aug. 6, 2023 4:50 a.m. ET

In the end, Sam Kerr wasn't needed as Australia advanced to the knockout stages of the Women's World Cup.

But the Matildas' inspirational captain is finally expected to get on the field against Denmark in the round of 16 on Monday,

"I'm really excited. I will play," Kerr told Australia's Nine TV network.

The star striker has been sidelined since injuring her left calf on the eve of co-host Australia's first game against Ireland on July 20.


Though she recovered well enough to make the bench against Canada, coach Tony Gustavsson didn't have to ask the Chelsea forward to perform a rescue act as the Matildas routed the Olympic champion 4-0 to top Group B.

[Related: The mystery of Sam Kerr: Just how healthy is Australia's star striker?]

While it is still not clear if she will be in the starting 11 against Denmark, both Kerr and Gustavsson are talking as if she will make her entrance at the World Cup at Stadium Australia.

"We had a nice moment as a team yesterday, to see her back with the boots on and touching the ball and be with the team training," Gustavsson said Sunday. "And it was a very good feeling for her and a very good feeling for the players and the teammates and a very good feeling for me.

"Today she was off-feet. It's all an individual plan for her in training - I trust my (medical) team 100% to prepare her the best way possible."

Gustavsson said he was working on "how to get the best out of Sam Kerr" in the game.

Kerr is one of the biggest sports stars in Australia and has been the face of the country's preparations for the World Cup, which it is co-hosting with New Zealand.

Considered one of the best players in the world, she helped Chelsea to a Women's Super League and FA Cup double last season.

The 29-year-old Kerr was one of the favorites to be the leading scorer in this tournament, but there were initial doubts she would be able to play any part for Australia after sustaining a calf injury in training.

She has won four league titles with Chelsea, as well as three FA Cups and two League Cups.

Kerr scored the winner as Chelsea beat Manchester United 1-0 in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium last season. The game was played in front of a crowd 77,390.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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