The CommBank Matildas will play their second group stage game of their FIFA Women's World Cup campaign tomorrow at Brisbane Stadium against Nigeria, looking to make it back-to-back wins.
Head Coach Tony Gustavsson and defender Steph Catley were available to the media during a Pre-Match Press Conference following Australia's MD-1 session at Perry Park.
Gustavsson was asked about player availability after it was revealed today that Mary Fowler and Aivi Luik will join the likes of Sam Kerr on the sidelines, with all three players being unavailable for selection after Kerr's calf injury before the Republic of Ireland game and Fowler and Luik's mild concussions they sustained yesterday in training.
“When it’s concussion protocol as a coach, you have to have the biggest respect for player health – if a player is ruled out, they’re ruled out,” said Gustavsson.
“When it comes to the training, I totally understand, if you didn’t see the training, if I were you sitting out there, I would go ‘what the heck is happening in trainings?’ Two concussions in one training, two days out from the game. But it was completely normal training.”
Gustavsson explained that the incidents occurred separately, “Two separate incidents – it’s a bit unreal to be honest. I never experienced anything like it,” he said.
When asked on the availability of striker Sam Kerr, Gustvasson explained, “Most likely we won’t be able to give an answer on [Kerr’s status] until the day before the (Canada) game,” he said. “We want to wait until the last minute to see where she’s at in terms of availability.”
“We have been as open as we can be to say it is a calf injury that is going to be reassessed after the Nigeria game. Me personally, I don’t know more than that as of now – I am just focusing on the players I have available for tomorrow, and I know that’s how Sam wants it as well.”
Catley talked about the injuries leading into Australia's second group stage game, “It’s the last thing you want to see your teammates and friends going through but in saying that it’s football,” she said.
“We’ve got a squad that’s capable of winning games at any given point no matter who’s in what position.
“I back every single player that’s out there no matter what.”
FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ - Group B Matchday 2
Australia v Nigeria
Date: Thursday, 27 July 2023
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-Off: 8:00 pm (AEST)
Broadcast: Optus Sport and Channel 7