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Coach Gustavsson says his ladies are very ready for their game

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Matildas
Matildas

Australia coach Tony Gustavsson said Wednesday that the Matildas feel “very ready” for their World Cup Group B match against Nigeria, despite injuries to three players including captain Sam Kerr.

Football Australia confirmed that forward Mary Fowler and defender Aivi Luik have been ruled out due to mild concussions sustained at training on Tuesday.

Gustavsson told a pre-game media conference, “It was a completely normal training (session), two days out, you always have a high-intensity, medium-sized game, and play eight-vs-eight at high intensity. We were unlucky, unfortunately, with two head knocks.”

Gustavsson didn’t elaborate on what happened in the training.

Speaking of Kerr, who was named on the bench in Australia’s opening match with Ireland, the head coach noted that her calf injury would be re-assessed after the team’s game with Nigeria.

According to Gustavsson, whether the 29-year-old striker will miss out on their final group match with Canada remains to be seen until the day before the game. “Because we want to wait until the last minute to see where she’s at in terms of availability,” said the coach.

“We have a lot of attacking options still in the roster. This team has also shown that we’re very adaptable … We might have a different formation, but we’re still going to have the same identity,” he added.

The Matildas currently sit on top of Group B after their 1-0 victory over Ireland on July 20. Tomorrow, Australia will go head-to-head with world No. 40 Nigeria, which held Olympic champions Canada to a goalless draw in the first round.

Nigeria were reckoned by Gustavsson as one of the fastest teams in the tournament.

“We need to stop their attacking threats. But also we need to move the ball really fast because they’ve shown it against Canada that they can play very physical,” he said.

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