Despite being ravaged by injury ahead of their second game at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup against Nigeria, co-hosts Australia are still positive about their chances of grinding results in front of their fans.
Australia were hit by two more injury blows to Aivi Luik and Mary Fowler ahead of the clash against Nigeria after star captain Sam Kerr had been initially ruled out of the game.
Kerr also missed the co-hosts 1-0 win over Republic of Ireland and her direct replacement in the team, Fowler, is now on the sidelines too after suffering from concussion in training.
Luik also had a separate concussion incident in training.
Their goal scorer against the Re
public of Ireland, Stephanie Catley said the spirit in camp is high despite the injuries.
“Morale is high. There’s not too much I need to do to be honest, I think everyone’s very focused. Everyone knows we need to keep the morale high,” Catley said.
“Injuries are not what you want ever in a tournament and, in particular, this tournament. As Australian players, probably the biggest moment of our careers. But it’s football and it happens to every single footballer on the entire planet. It’s how the rest of the squad bounces back and performs in a high-pressure situation in the biggest games.”
Fowler replaced Kerr in the attack for the Ireland match at Sydney’s Stadium Australia, while Luik was an unused substitute. Football Australia said both had fully recovered but will not play against Nigeria due to Football Australia’s concussion protocol.
“When it’s concussion protocol as a coach, you have to have the biggest respect for a player’s health and if a player is ruled out, they’re ruled out,” said coach Tony Gustavsson.
“Two days out you always have high intensity (at training). We were unlucky. Unfortunately, two head knocks.”
Gustavsson said there will likely be no update on Kerr until Sunday, the eve of the Canada game.