Australia captain Sam Kerr said Friday the Women’s World Cup had been the best weeks of her career and she planned to stick around for the next one in four years’ time.
The 29-year-old will lead her side out for one last game on Saturday when they face Sweden in the third-place playoff in Brisbane, with a bronze medal at stake.
The talismanic striker said Australia were already winners regardless of the result after going further than expected and taking a home nation with them, with bumper crowds and record-breaking TV audiences.
“I think for us all it has been the most amazing four weeks of our careers. Not only what has happened on the pitch, but what has happened off has been amazing,” she said.
“When we first started at this World Cup, we could have never dreamed this would happen, the way the country has got behind us, the way we have been playing.
“But we have one more game where we can really end on a high. There’s that extra motivation to … really leave a legacy. Coming third place at a World Cup is something you can only dream of as a kid.”
It has been a rollercoaster ride for the Chelsea forward, who picked up a calf injury before their opening game and missed the first four matches.
But she played a full 90 minutes in their 3-1 semi-final loss to England, scoring a sensational goal, and said the experience had left her wanting more, with a fifth World Cup in her sights.
“I hope to still be here, if that’s what you are asking me. I’m only 29,” she said.
“I think most of us will still be here if we have the opportunity to be, we have to play at our club, play well, stay injury free.
“There might be a few more babies, who knows, four years is a long time. But I hope the core group is together.
“At the moment, I haven’t heard any talk of anyone retiring. I think as long as there are 23 spots, I think everyone here will be fighting for them in four years’ time.”
Coach Tony Gustavsson said he was similarly determined to end the tournament with a win by beating his home country.
He ruled out using the game to give minutes to squad players who had not featured so far.
“I can’t pick based on emotions, this is a third-place game, we are playing for a medal. This a game to win,” he said, adding that Sweden and Australia shared many of the same traits.
He pointed to both sides being well organised defensively, physical, and threatening on the transition.
“So the team that wins those battles will probably win the game,” he said.