Australian star Sam Kerr has been ruled out of his country’s first two matches at the Women’s World Cup in a major blow to the tournament’s co-hosts.
The Chelsea striker suffered a calf injury in training the day before the start of the tournament.
Australia play their opener against the Republic of Ireland in Sydney on Thursday night, while Kerr has also been ruled out of their Group B clash with Nigeria next week.
The 29-year-old, who is the face of this year’s Women’s World Cup, will be tested ahead of Australia’s final group match against Olympic champions Canada.
A statement from the Matildas confirmed the news an hour before their opening game.
“Sam Kerr is unavailable tonight after he injured his calf in training. [on Wednesday].
“Sam will not be available for the next two games with Matildas’ medical team to re-evaluate her after our second group game.”
“Unfortunately I suffered a calf injury yesterday in training,” Kerr said in a statement. “I wanted to share this with everyone so we don’t get distracted doing what we came here to accomplish.
“Of course I would have loved to be there tonight, but I can’t wait to be a part of this incredible journey that begins now.”
Australia play their first World Cup match in front of what is expected to be a record-breaking crowd at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium, while Ireland will make their first appearance at the tournament.