Ian Wright believes Australia are now “one of the favourites” for the World Cup after Chelsea’s Sam Kerr returned to full fitness.
The striker was sidelined for the group stages with a calf injury but she came on as a second-half substitute during the 2-0 win over Denmark in the round of 16, and Wright claims her presence could make all the difference:
“Now Sam Kerr’s back, with the way they’re playing and the way the crowd are obviously so much behind [them], you have to say they’re one of the favourites to win the tournament.”
Wright also praised one of Kerr’s international teammates, Ellie Carpenter, who has excelled playing for both club and country:
“They’re getting a lot of that European experience. Looking at someone like Ellie Carpenter: When Lucy Bronze left Lyon, Ellie Carpenter at 21 went straight in – and we’re talking about Lucy Bronze, a Ballon d’Or world player of the year [nominee].”
“Ellie Carpenter went straight in and it was seamless for her – that’s the calibre we’re talking about. It’s amazing. I think they’ve been brilliant, and long may it continue for them – unless they get England.”
Kerr’s Australia could face England in the semi-finals
The Matildas are flying high after their victory over Denmark and Kerr’s return to the starting lineup means they will have a decent chance of beating France in their quarter-final tie this weekend in Brisbane.
They are in England’s half of the draw as well so the Lionesses could play Australia in the semi-finals if Sarina Wiegman’s team can make it past Colombia.
After scraping through against Nigeria following a penalty shootout in the last 16, there are certainly no guarantees that England will be in New Zealand next Tuesday. However, it is possible that Kerr will line up against some of her Chelsea teammates.