Sam Kerr to miss Australia’s first two WWC games with injury

Australia striker Sam Kerr will miss the hosts’ opening two matches of the Women’s World Cup after suffering a calf injury in training ahead of the tournament.

Football Australia announced Kerr’s injury moments after submitting their official team sheet for the opening game of their tournament against the Republic of Ireland on Thursday, saying Kerr suffered a calf injury during the team’s final training session. She will be unavailable for the Ireland game as well as their second Group B match, against Nigeria on July 27.

The Chelsea forward will then be assessed by the Matildas’ medical team to determine her availability for the team’s final group game against Canada on July 31.

“Unfortunately I sustained a calf injury yesterday in training,” Kerr wrote on Instagram before the Ireland match.

“I wanted to share this with everyone so there is no distraction from us doing what we came here to achieve.

“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.”

The injury marks a major blow for Australia, who are considered contenders to win the tournament.

Manchester City youngster Mary Fowler was drafted into the starting lineup in place of Kerr, the only change to the starting XI that defeated France in their final warmup fixture last week.

The absence of the Matildas’ all-time leading scorer adds further headache for coach Tony Gustavsson, with forward Kyah Simon and midfielder Tameka Yallop out.

Meanwhile, Ireland have midfielder Denise O’Sullivan at their disposal after she overcame a shin injury she sustained in a heated warmup match against Colombia.

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