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Kerr injury "heartbreaking" for Australia on World Cup eve: Carpenter

CANBERRA, July 21 (Xinhua) -- Australia defender Ellie Carpenter has backed injured superstar striker Sam Kerr to make a major impact on the later stages of the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup.

Australia captain Kerr, who suffered a calf injury in training on Wednesday, was on Thursday ruled out of Australia's World Cup opener against Ireland just hours before the kick-off.

After the 1-0 victory on Friday, right back Carpenter said the team played for their injured captain.

"It was obviously heartbreaking for Sam personally and I guess for us also obviously heartbroken," she said.

"We're all there for her like she's always there for us during tough times. This is the most important time. We'll all rally around her, and we know that she'll get herself right to come help us in the later stages."

Revealing the injury, Football Australia (FA) said that Kerr, Australia's all-time leading scorer, would also miss the Matildas' second Group B match against Nigeria in Brisbane on July 27.

Their final group match is against Canada in Melbourne four days later.

"She's going to be out for two games, and then we'll reassess afterward," coach Tony Gustavsson said on Thursday night.

"That tells you a little bit about what grade it is, but we don't want to go into more details on that at this point."

The 2023 Women's World Cup is co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand from July 20 to August 20.

Only the top two teams from the eight groups will progress to the round of 16, as this is the first time the tournament features 32 teams.