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2019 Women's World Cup

Sam Kerr can take Australia, far but not far enough

Cleaning up the rebound on a penalty kick.

One header, then another.

Finishing a deflected ball.

Jumping on a loose ball.

And that’s not even counting her role in two of Australia’s three other goals at the 2019 World Cup. There’s no doubt that Sam Kerr has been the Matildas’ most important player in this tournament, the first time she’s made a tournament of this stature her own. Kerr’s club exploits home and abroad are well known, but her international career has been quieter up until now, a career that was nearly derailed by injuries before it truly took off.

Yes, Kerr is having an excellent tournament … but are any of her teammates? Australia’s surprising loss to Italy and the goals given up to Brazil and Jamaica landed them in second place in Group C, placing them in arguably the more difficult side of the knockout bracket. After exiting the quarterfinals of every Olympics and World Cup in which they’ve participated since 2004, they’ve finally emerged as true contenders.

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