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Sam Kerr: Australia fan support ‘only thing keeping me smiling’

Australia's Sam Kerr applauds fans after her team’s victory in the World Cup quarterfinals. (Elsa/FIFA via Getty Images)

Sam Kerr did all she could for Australia at the 2023 World Cup. And while the Matildas ultimately came up short, they still made their deepest run ever.

Nearly half the country watched the 3-1 loss to England in the World Cup — and the magnificent goal from Kerr. But that did not stop the disappointment from seeping in for the 29-year-old captain.

“All I can feel is disappointment right now,” Kerr told the Associated Press. “After we scored, it felt like it would have been a great match to watch, actually.”

Of course, one cannot mention Kerr’s World Cup without noting her limited minutes while dealing with a left calf injury. After missing the entirety of the group stage, she was used sparingly in the first two matches of the knockout rounds. But she made her first start of the tournament and played a full 90 minutes against England.

“I think I did everything that I could to be back in this tournament,” she said. Referring to a missed shot on goal late in the match, she added: “I would normally sink that, but I’ve trained maybe three or four times this whole World Cup. That obviously for me is normally my bread and butter, but unfortunately this World Cup hasn’t gone as planned for me.”

Her teammates kept her going during her absence from the pitch, she said. And it’s been amazing getting to watch women’s soccer in Australia rise to new heights as the Matildas have hosted the World Cup.

“That’s kind of the only thing keeping me smiling right now, the fact that we inspired a nation, everyone’s gotten behind us, the tournament has been amazing,” Kerr said. “I think for us, hopefully this has been life-changing for women’s football in Australia.

“I don’t think this was once in a lifetime. If you bring the product to the show, we’ve proven people will come out and support it. Hopefully we’ll get a few new fans that will stick around. Now it is time for funding and all of that stuff to be invested in the game because we’ve shown we can play the game.”