Sam Kerr has been ruled out of Australia’s opening two games of the Women’s World Cup in a major setback for the tournament co-hosts.
The star striker picked up a calf muscle injury during practice on Wednesday and it was confirmed shortly before kickoff Thursday that she wouldn’t be able to play for the Matildas against Ireland at Stadium Australia or their second match against Nigeria in Brisbane next week.
“Sam will be unavailable for the next two matches with the Matildas medical team to re-assess her following our second group stage match,” Australia’s national team tweeted.
The Matildas also face Olympic Canada in Group B. She is Australia’s captain and all-time leading scorer with 63 goals in 120 games and was one of the favourites to win the Golden Boot at this World Cup.
“I wanted to share this with everyone so there is no distraction from us doing what we came here to achieve,” she wrote in an Instagram post distributed by the team. “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.”
Mary Fowler replaced Kerr in Australia’s attack.
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