Following her return to the Australia team in their quarter final encounter with France, Sam Kerr will be hoping to make the starting lineup for Australia’s World Cup semi-final against England.
As such, England will need to prepare for the threat that she poses ahead of time. Even if she isn’t at full fitness, the Chelsea superstar could still wreak havoc if she is allowed to do so.
As one of the highest-scoring forwards in the WSL last season, not to mention one of the most creative, she played a major role in the Blues’ title-winning campaign. Can she repeat her heroics on the international stage? Or will the Lionesses be able to fend her off?
Will Sam Kerr be fit to play against England?
During the Matildas’ quarter-final clash with France, which saw Australia emerge victorious after winning 7-6 on penalties, Kerr did not start the game – she did, however, come on as a substitute in the 55th minute.
With this being said, her impact on the game was minimal. It appeared that she was not yet at full fitness – her introduction to the game seemed to be a desperate move from Australia head coach Tony Gustavsson in an attempt to bolster their attacking threat.
She did little to impact the overall outcome of the quarter-final tie – but with four days in between that game and Australia’s match with England, she may have regained her full fitness by the time they square off.
During the penalty shootout, Kerr took Australia’s second penalty, which she coolly dispatched into the bottom right corner.
How can the Lionesses nullify her attacking threat?
First of all, England will likely abort their high line press when taking on Australia. Kerr is lightning-quick – if the Lionesses choose to press high up the pitch, one ball over the top could spell disaster.
It may benefit Sarina Wiegman to line England up more narrowly on Wednesday. This will allow the Lionesses’ full-backs to drift centrally to track Kerr’s runs – she likes to drift out wide, as it accommodates her rapid pace and can dissuade centre-backs from following her.