Australia captain Sam Kerr admitted it would be the “biggest honour in the world” to play in front of a home crowd at the World Cup this summer Down Under.
Australia take on Scotland and England during the current international break before they play a final friendly against France in July, a week before the World Cup, as Kerr struggled to hide her excitement for the occasion.
The 29-year-old Chelsea forward believes that Australia have an opportunity to etch their names in their country’s history – during the tournament hosted by Australia and New Zealand – along with the likes of Cathy Freeman at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
“Not many players get to play a home World Cup so it’s going to be the biggest honour in the world to one, represent the country but two, at a home world cup in front of your home fans, family and friends,” she said.
“It’s going to be hopefully a moment that is remembered in everyone’s eyes for the rest of (history).
“I mean, we always talk about Cathy Freeman in the 2000 Olympics and no matter what happens, who goes, who the 23 (squad) is, the team is remembered forever and we represent Australia in the best way possible and show that Australia can be a real footballing country, a real host of women’s football.”
The striker is hoping that the national support seen towards England’s Lionesses on the way to their Euro 2022 triumph is replicated in Australia this summer.
She added: “Australians love getting behind Aussies. I’m sure we’ll have big crowds. We’ve seen with the ticket sales, there are so many girls in this team that are loved by the Aussies.
“I have no doubt that the Aussies will get behind us just like the English did, just like the French did at the World Cup before.
“The Aussies love a sporting team and the Matildas are fan favourites. I get goosebumps every time I think about the first game.
“The legacy we want to leave is that we want to inspire the nation, move the nation to believe in women’s football, believe in the Matildas.
“We already have the highest participation in the country (women playing football) so I think it’s about getting the people higher up to believe in the sport.
“With the Socceroos’ (Australia men’s football team) success at the World Cup, we saw the amount of funding being highlighted so I think we have the participation, we have the love for the game but the lasting legacy will hopefully be that we get the funding the sport deserves.”
Australia women’s manager Tony Gustavsson highlighted that despite the Matildas currently missing six experienced players through injury, Kerr’s professionalism and mentality has remained at an admirable standard.
Gustavsson said: “I am extremely impressed by Sam’s ability to handle that herself (mental pressure). That’s not about me, that’s about her as a person.
“If you look back at performance after performance for her club and here, it’s amazing and says a lot about her professionalism and character as a player.”
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