England’s Keira Walsh did not suffer an anterior cruciate ligament injury against Denmark at the Women’s World Cup and could feature later in the tournament after the Lionesses confirmed the midfielder will remain with the squad in Australia.
Walsh was stretchered off in the Lionesses’ 1-0 win against Denmark on Friday and there were fears that the 26-year-old had become the latest star in women’s football to suffer an ACL tear – with England captain Leah Williamson and forward Beth Mead among several star names to be ruled out of the World Cup due to the injury.
The Barcelona midfielder was left on crutches after stretching for the ball and catching her studs on the turf, but a scan on Saturday afternoon revealed that the injury was not as bad as it first looked and there was no serious ligament damage.
Walsh will be unavailable when the Lionesses face China in their final group stage match on Tuesday but she will remain at England’s training base while her knee injury continues to be assessed, in what is a promising sign that the Champions League winner could feature in the knockout stages should Sarina Wiegman’s side progress from Group D.
Georgia Stanway is expected to deputise at the base of England’s midfield against China, while Laura Coombs, who replaced Walsh against Denmark, could come into the starting line-up. The Lionesses will advance to the knockout stages if they avoid defeat to the Asian champion in Adelaide after taking six points from their opening two games.
Elsewhere at the World Cup, Australia captain Sam Kerr confirmed she will be available for the Matildas’ final group stage encounter with Canada after missing their first two matches with a calf injury.
The Matildas’ chances of progressing from Group B hang in the balance after Thursday’s surprise 3-2 defeat to Nigeria in Brisbane, and only victory over the Olympic champions on Monday will see Tony Gustavsson’s side qualify for the last 16, barring a draw scenario that will still rely on the Republic of Ireland beating Nigeria.
The Chelsea striker would not confirm if the encouraging update would mean the home support would see her start in Melbourne, telling a press conference: “I feel good. The plan has always been the same, miss the first two games then reassess.
“ I’m feeling good, I was out on the pitch today. As good as I can be. I would love to tell you guys everything – but you know being in sport a long time, that that’s a massive thing the opposition wants to know. And like Tony said yesterday it’s going to go down to the wire. I’m definitely going to be available, but how we decide to use that is not to be given to the opposition, I think is the main thing.
Australia captain Sam Kerr (AP)
“Obviously the plan for me is to be involved and I’m excited. I’ve done everything I can, and no matter what happens I know that I’ve given everything just in the last 10 days, in the last four years, I’ve given everything to be here.”
Meanwhile, Norway striker Ada Hegerberg will not play in their must-win Women’s World Cup group game against the Philippines after failing to recover from a groin injury in time.
Hegerberg withdrew prior to kickoff in the second game after tweaking her groin in the warm-ups. The 2018 Ballon d’Or winner headed quickly down the tunnel to the locker room before Norway drew 0-0 with Switzerland.
Norway are bottom of Group A with one point and must win to have any chance of qualifying for the last 16, but their fate is not entirely in their hands with the top two sides Switzerland and New Zealand playing each other.
Includes reporting from PA