Sam Kerr won’t risk injury in Olympics qualifiers
MATILDAS star Sam Kerr looks increasingly unlikely to feature in Australia's first Olympic qualifier on Friday night, but insists the team will be ready to get off to a winning start either way.
Battling a thigh strain, Kerr dropped a hint that she would be held back for the second and third games her side faces inside a week, especially the last one against China for which she will now get an extra day to prepare.
With FIFA and the players' clubs agreeing to the Matildas staying for an extra day, the clash with China will now take place on Thursday next week.
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Chelsea striker Kerr picked up the injury in her first week in London, blaming the cold weather but playing down the seriousness of the complaint.
"To be honest, if I'm good, I'll go," Kerr said ahead of Friday's opening clash with Taiwan.
"But the most important thing is the team. I'm not going to be taking any risks, there's a lot of big games coming up.
"There'll be no real decision, it's day to day, really. I've got the best medical staff I could have working with me, and it feels really good today, but I've got a fair bit to get through until Friday. I don't want to jeopardise me or the team.
"I have no worries at all that the girls will play their best this week."
Australia will face Thailand next Monday and then the China game, with the top two teams in the group heading to a playoff for a place at the Olympics.
With the staccato schedule, Kerr sad the whole squad would have a role to play over three games.
"I don't think many players will play all three this week, so it's going to be different circumstances for everyone," she said. "This injury's been hanging around for a little bit. I just want to get it right. I'm not even sitting out training.
"As a footballer, any time you get an injury, it is hard. It's been quite frustrating that it's been lingering around for a while.
"But I've had way worse injuries than this one, so at the same time I feel very lucky that I'm still in a position where I can come into camp and help the Matildas go as far as they can in this qualification process."
Football Federation Australia are confident the latest change to the tournament schedule will be the last, barring any more dramatic twists.
"We would like to thank FIFA and the European clubs especially for agreeing to the extension which will enable all players to participate in the final matchday outside the original FIFA window," FFA CEO James Johnson said.
"This outcome will ensure that there are three full days between matchdays three and four, guaranteeing that the health and safety of all participating players is put first, which is a priority for FFA."