Australia’s hopes at June’s FIFA Women’s World Cup™ have been dealt a severe blow with key striker and reigning AFC Women’s Player of the Year Kate Gill to miss the tournament after suffering a serious knee injury.
Gill sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament playing for Swedish club Linkopings last Thursday and has returned to Australia for surgery.
The tall striker has become an integral part of the Matildas team in recent years, scoring the only goal of the game against Japan last year which sent the Matildas to Germany. With 32 goals in 65 appearances for Australia, Gill sits behind only the legendary Cheryl Salisbury on Australia’s list of all-time goalscorers.
Though only a bit-part player four years ago as the Matildas reached the knockout stage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the first time, Gill has been an ever-present in Tom Sermanni’s line-up over recent years.
"The way Kate has played in the last 18 months in taking her football to another level, and for this to happen on the eve of the World Cup is just devastating for her,” said Sermanni. “Although it is devastating news for Katie, she is a true professional and I am sure she will come back stronger than ever.
"We're in a healthier position to be able to deal with this situation due to the potent group of strikers that we have at our disposal, and we will continue to work hard in our preparations for the World Cup.”
Australia are in Group D at Germany 2011 alongside 2007 runners-up Brazil, 1995 champions Norway and African debutants Equatorial Guinea.
Germany were dealt a similar blow on the weekend with attacking starlet Dzsenifer Marozsan ruled out of the tournament with a knee injury.