Beleaguered coach Tony Gustavsson claims the Matildas can delay a decision on how (and if) to use captain Sam Kerr in the decisive FIFA Women’s World Cup clash between Australia and Canada on Monday night until just before kick-off. start of the match.
Having missed Australia’s first two matches of the tournament, including Thursday night’s shock 3-2 loss to Nigeria, due to a calf injury, Kerr said on Saturday he was ‘available’ for selection for the matter. virtual life or death.
Kerr also donned his boots for training sessions on Saturday and Sunday at the Queensland Athletic and Sport Center base of Matildas.
However, after the session on Sunday, which took place behind closed doors after the initial warm-up. Gustavsson was reluctant to reveal the extent of Kerr’s involvement in the training.
A meeting between Gustavsson, the team’s medical staff and Kerr was scheduled for Sunday night, but there was no guarantee a decision would be made at that time on the Chelsea star’s participation in the match at Melbourne’s AAMI Park. .
Matildas star Sam Kerr was seen with straps on his injured leg after training on Sunday, with the session closed to fans and media.
Coach Tony Gustavsson says the Matildas can delay a decision on how, and if, to use the superstar striker until just before kick-off.
“I want to make it clear that we knew she was going to miss the first two games and then she would be evaluated before this game, and that was going to go all the way,” Gustavsson said.
“We are going to have a meeting with the medical team and Sam, and we will discuss what is the possibility of her playing (against Canada).
‘Then we’ll do some testing (on Monday) to see how it looks.
“(With) calf injuries, it’s one thing that you’re available, but there’s also the risk when you come back from a calf injury … so we need to balance how many minutes he’s available, with what the risks are if we manage to go to the playoffs. (with) playing time…so there’s a lot on the table to discuss and we probably won’t know exactly how we’re going to use that until we get to the stadium (Monday).’
Gustavsson, whose training methods and tactics have been widely criticized during the tournament, admitted that it would be a “failure” if the Matildas were knocked out of the tournament in the group stage.
A win over Canada will secure the Matildas a round of 16.
Their World Cup dream will end with a second straight loss, though, and a draw is unlikely to be enough to advance to the knockout stages.
Gustavsson admitted it would be a ‘failure’ if the Matildas were knocked out of the tournament in the group stage.
Kerr trained twice with the Matildas team over the weekend, but mystery still surrounds his availability for the crucial clash in Melbourne on Monday night.
“We know how this business works that there will always be a lot of opinions… and most likely when you lose the game as well,” Gustavsson said.
“As a team manager, you’re never better than you were in your last game, so right now I’m sitting here like I’m not the best manager.”
Canada’s coach, Bev Priestman, said she was happy that her reigning Olympic Games gold medalists spoiled the party by prematurely eliminating the Matildas from the tournament.
“I’m not going to make a headline about knocking the home nation out of the World Cup, but ultimately we want to win, so if it means we knock out Australia, we knock out Australia,” Priestman said.
‘I want to get three points. That’s all I’m focused on, to get three points, and move on and move on to the next game.
Priestman said the Canadians had “prepared” to play the “world class” Kerr.
‘But ultimately we have to get it right. We have talked about what it will take to beat Australia because Australia is not just Sam Kerr,” he said.
Priestman said that with Matildas needing to ‘go out’ and chase a win, it would suit Canada’s style.
“When the teams go out is when we find a way,” he said.
‘It always feels good when fate is in your hands. When there are three points on the line here, I’d like to think that this group will show up and do it, and that’s exactly what we’ll be looking to do.
We are coming into this game ready to take three points. You put value against value, and I think we see the best of this group.