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Where EAST meets the Northwest


FANCY FOOTWORK. Samantha Kerr (#20) of Australia, left, fights for control of the ball against Nana Ichise (#5) of Japan during the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Jordan 2018 Women’s Asian Cup final at Amman International Stadium in Amman, Jordan on April 20, 2018. The 2019 Women’s World Cup begins June 7 in France. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh, File)

From The Asian Reporter, V29, #11 (June 3, 2019), page 8.

Sam Kerr to lead Australia squad at Women’s World Cup

SYDNEY (AP) — Star forward Sam Kerr will lead an experienced Australia squad at the Women’s World Cup in France, where the Matildas are aiming to go beyond the quarterfinals for the first time.

Kerr, who made her international debut at age 15 in 2009, has scored 31 goals in her 76 full international games and is the all-time leading scorer in the U.S. National Women’s Soccer League. She scored twice in the recent 3-1 victory by the Chicago Red Stars over North Carolina, ending the defending champion Courage’s 15-game unbeaten streak, and later told reporters she’d see them after the World Cup — with the trophy.

Australia coach Ant Milicic announced a Matildas squad that has almost 1,300 international caps combined.

Lisa de Vanna, Clare Polkinghorne, and Lydia Williams have been picked for a fourth World Cup campaign and six players, including Kerr, are going to the biggest event in women’s soccer for a third time.

"This is a special group of Australian footballers because, as a unit, they have accumulated a wealth of international experience despite the average age of the team being quite young," Milicic said. "Having players who have appeared at multiple World Cups in our squad will help to guide the eight players travelling to their first."

Kyah Simon, who has scored at the last two World Cups but has been struggling with a long-term ankle injury, and 17-year-old Kyra Cooney-Cross were included in an expanded 25-player squad for a Matildas camp in Turkey and will remain on standby in case of injuries to other players.

Milicic said Simon had only played 13 minutes in competitive games this year and, "it’s not enough."

"There’s been a steep decline," Milicic said. "Her last full game was in May last year. I understand the quality that she can bring, but it was my call that it was too much of a risk at this stage."

Australia lost a warmup match against the Netherlands, 0-3, on June 1. The squad opens its World Cup Group C campaign against Italy on June 9.

The Australian women have been knocked out in the quarterfinals at the last three World Cups, twice by eventual runners-up.

Australia squad

Goalkeepers: Mackenzie Arnold, Teagan Micha, Lydia Williams.

Defenders: Teigen Allen, Laura Alleway, Ellie Carpenter, Steph Catley, Alanna Kennedy, Clare Polkinghorne, Gema Simon.

Midfielders: Katrina Gorry, Amy Harrison, Elise Kellond-Knight, Chloe Logarzo, Aivi Luik, Emily van Egmond, Tameka Yallop.

Forwards: Lisa De Vanna, Caitlin Foord, Mary Fowler, Emily Gielnik, Sam Kerr, Hayley Raso.

* * *

Women’s World Cup - France 2019

Countries by Group:

Group A

France

Korea Republic

Norway

Nigeria

Group B

Germany

China PR

Spain

South Africa

Group C

Australia

Italy

Brazil

Jamaica

Group D

England

Scotland

Argentina

Japan

Group E

Canada

Cameroon

New Zealand

Netherlands

Group F

USA

Thailand

Chile

Sweden

Women’s World Cup dates:

Group play

June 7 to 20

Round of 16

June 22 to 25

Quarterfinals

June 27 to 29

Semifinals

July 2 & 3

Third place

July 6

Championship

July 7

* * *

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