Sam Kerr is given the captain's armband by Steph Catley during Australia's win over DenmarkSam Kerr has played just over 10 minutes at this World Cup, coming on as a late substitute against Denmark in the last 16

Sam Kerr will be back in Australia’s starting XI for their Women’s World Cup quarter-final against France if she is fit, says manager Tony Gustavsson.

It has raised fans’ hopes of a bigger role at Brisbane Stadium as the co-hosts aim for a first semi-final.

“If Sam is fit to play 90 minutes, she is starting,” Gustavsson said.

“That’s not even a question, and the team knows it.”

After losing to Nigeria in their second game, Australia have coped well without all-time top scorer Kerr, scoring six goals in their past two matches.

Gustavsson said: “I definitely would never, ever see Sam as a disturbance to the team. We’re talking about Sam Kerr.

“Whether she is ready to play 90 minutes plus extra time, that’s to be decided tonight.”

France are looking to take advantage of the pressure on the co-hosts, and expect a tough test in front of a packed and partisan crowd.

“We know tomorrow we are not only playing against one team, but against one nation,” France coach Herve Renard said. “But it’s also why we are very motivated for this game.

“It’s a fantastic tournament. When we played against Brazil here, the stadium was full. Against Jamaica, even against Panama, the stadiums were full.

“We need to congratulate the Australians because it is a success. And tomorrow will be a beautiful occasion to celebrate.”

Rachel Brown-Finnis’ prediction

I am in Sydney and there is such a buzz around the Matildas. The atmosphere here is incredible and I’d love to see Australia win, just so it carries on.

It is is going to be very close, but I reckon Caitlin Foord will win a penalty and Stephanie Catley will put that away for the hosts. Sam Kerr will come on again too, and she just has to score at some point - this game would be a good time for that to happen.

Brown-Finnis’ prediction: 2-1 after extra time

Key stats

  • This will be Australia’s fourth quarter-final at the Women’s World Cup. They have lost their three previous quarter-finals, scoring three goals and conceding seven in total.
  • Australia have kept a clean sheet in consecutive games at the Women’s World Cup for the first time. They are now aiming to win three straight Women’s World Cup games for the first time.
  • The host nation has lost in the quarter-finals in the past four editions of the Women’s World Cup. The last one that managed to progress further was USA in 2003.
  • France have scored 12 goals in this Women’s World Cup, their first time with more than 10 goals in a single edition of the tournament.
  • If she plays in this game, Wendie Renard will win her 150th cap for France.