Australia captain Sam Kerr ruled out of two games at World Cup with injury

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Steph Catley, the temporary captain, stated that even though Sam Kerr was unable to play in Australia’s 1-0 victory over Ireland due to injury, she still had a significant impact.

Kerr suffered a calf injury during training on Wednesday and will also be absent for the team’s next Group B match against Nigeria in Brisbane.

Catley expressed that the players were devastated by the announcement, but she took over as captain and penalty taker. She successfully converted a penalty in the 52nd minute, leading the Matildas to victory.

“We had to really gather ourselves pretty quickly. But we used her spirit and used the fact that she wasn’t able to be out there with us to help us push on,” the defender told reporters at Stadium Australia.

“That all adds to what we already bring and I think that’s what it’s going to take for as long as maybe she misses, but she’s got a role still whenever she plays, she’s a master for us.”

“She’s so, so important, she’s our spiritual leader. Sam was involved non-stop, from the first chat in the locker room to the last chat.”

Kerr, who holds the record for the most goals scored for her country with 63 goals, observed the match from the sidelines at Stadium Australia, where a record-breaking crowd of 75,784 fans had gathered.

“I wanted to share this with everyone so there is no distraction from us doing what we came here to achieve,” Kerr posted on Instagram barely an hour before kick-off.

“Of course I would have loved to have been out there tonight but I can’t wait to be a part of this amazing journey which starts now.”

Australia are starting the tournament with a lot of momentum, having won nine out of their last ten games. This includes a 1-0 victory against France in a friendly match last Friday and a 2-0 win over England in April, which ended England’s 30-game unbeaten streak. 

There were concerns about Kerr’s injury after the France game, as she was seen with an ice pack on her hamstring after being substituted in the 62nd minute. Kerr, who is participating in her fourth World Cup, expressed her pride in playing on the global stage in front of a home crowd.

“To be at home and get the feel for it, walk down the streets and see people that are excited or flying around the country to watch us, it’s nice to be able to feel the love,” she said on Wednesday.

“But also we’re really proud to bring this World Cup home and let Australia experience what we do all around the world.”

The match against Ireland on Thursday, which marked their debut in a major tournament, was anticipated to have a full crowd at Stadium Australia. Kerr, who was on the sidelines, joined arms with the team’s substitutes while the national anthem was being sung.

The news was disheartening for the fans as they entered the stadium.

“Oh, that’s not good, that’s very bad, that’s awful, she’s the best player we have so that’s bad for us,” said supporter Matt Starr.

“Very sad, we’re very sad, we came to see Sam Kerr but still Australia to win,” said fan Sue Moar.

Lisa Schibezi described the news as “heartbreaking” and expressed her desire for Australia to advance to the next stage so that Kerr can have the chance to compete in Sydney.

“Because this is our only chance to see her in Sydney so if they don’t make it through, we don’t get to see her play in Sydney, so just really really hope she’s okay and we get to see her again,” she said.

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