Sam Kerr finally got her World Cup moment but sadly for Australia the euphoria only lasted eight minutes.

Kerr was handed her first start of the tournament in Wednesday’s semi-final with England and delivered when her country needed her, a 30-yard screamer dragging Australia back into the game after a lacklustre opening hour.

It had the potential to be a ‘where were you’ moment for the boys and girls that idolise Australia’s skipper.

But instead it will be an after thought on a night when Australia’s inspirational campaign came to a crushing end.

The Matildas fell apart eight minutes after Kerr’s goal, Lauren Hemp putting England back ahead before Alessia Russo finished things off to make it 3-1 at Stadium Australia.

It was a brave call by Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson to pick Kerr, given how his side had managed to rise to the occasion without her.

The Chelsea forward missed the group stage with a calf injury before being eased back in with 10 minutes against Denmark and then an hour or so against France in the quarter-final victory.
But Gustavsson rolled the dice and the stage was set for Australia’s greatest goalscorer to stand tall.

Kerr did her part and her inclusion naturally attracted extra attention from England.

Alex Greenwood was booked after crashing into the Australian captain in the 10th minute and Jess Carter narrowly avoided booting Kerr in the head as they battled for possession.

Bar a chance provided by Katrina Gorry in the opening five minutes, for which Kerr was flagged for offside, Australia couldn’t get her in the areas to challenge England.

When it was time to move quickly they recycled play in-field or when they needed to wait for support in central areas they crossed and hoped.

The Matildas thrive off zippy transitions but they were far too pedestrian both before and after England’s Ella Toone had scored the opener in the 36th minute off the back of some sloppy Australian defending.

Down a goal with an hour of play gone, Australia started to threaten and Gorry opened the Lionesses up.

She played Kerr in and rather than slip through the easy ball to Caitlin Foord, the Australia skipper took her clubmate Millie Bright on before unleashing her shot past Mary Earps.

For eight minutes the stadium began to believe a meeting with Spain in Sunday’s final was possible.

Kerr clutched at a handful of chances but England were clinical with Hemp and Russo burying their opportunities along with the Matildas’ campaign.

Source: AAP