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Women’s World Cup 2023: Australia captain Sam Kerr returns against Denmark in last 16

Hosts: Australia and New Zealand Dates: 20 July-20 August
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website & app. Full coverage details; latest news

Australia’s all-time leading scorer Sam Kerr is set to make her first appearance of the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Monday’s last-16 tie against Denmark in Sydney.

The Matildas captain and Chelsea forward did not play in the three group games because of a calf injury.

“To see her back with her boots on and touching the ball and be with the team in training, it was a very good feeling for her, the players and me,” said head coach Tony Gustavsson.

“She’s a player we’ll talk about to see how many minutes would be suitable. [We’re] looking at 90 minutes and potentially extra time.”

Kerr, who has scored 63 goals for Australia, was an unused substitute in the 4-0 win over Canada which secured top spot in Group B.

Australia and Denmark meet at Stadium Australia at 11:30 BST.

The winners will face France or Morocco, who play on Tuesday, in the quarter-finals.

Denmark, playing at their first World Cup since 2007, finished second in Group D behind England as wins over China and Haiti secured a place in the last 16 for the first time in 28 years.

They lost 3-1 to Australia in a friendly in October, but head coach Lars Sondergaard said: “We’re going to have our own party if we succeed in ruining a party and that part is fine by me.

“It’s going to be a difficult game but we see chances.

“We’re living a dream and we want to continue living it as long as possible, until the final day of the tournament.”

Rachel Brown-Finnis’ prediction

A capacity crowd of about 80,000 is expected and the atmosphere is going to be absolutely incredible.

I’d love to see Sam Kerr back in action and I’d love to see the Matildas go through.

The tournament needs the co-hosts to progress, but Denmark’s defence is going to make things very difficult for them, and they might need some of Kerr’s magic to make the difference. 2-1 After extra time.

Key stats

  • A host nation has managed to win at least one game in the knockout stage of the Women’s World Cup in four of the last six editions; the last one that progressed past the group stage but lost their first game in the knockout stage was Germany in 2011 (0-1 v Japan in the quarter-final).
  • Denmark have reached the knockout stage of the World Cup for the third time, after 1991 and 1995. However, they have lost both of their games at this stage.
  • Australia have won only one of their five previous World Cup knockout games (1-0 v Brazil in last 16 round in 2015) and were eliminated at the last 16 stage in 2019 against Norway after a penalty shootout.
  • Australia’s Caitlin Foord has had 12 shots without scoring at the 2023 World Cup, second only to the USA’s Alex Morgan (14).
  • Denmark kept a clean sheet in two of their three group games, as often as in their previous 13 World Cup matches.

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