Kerr on dramatic Australia win: ‘I hate pens’

BRISBANE, Australia — The Matildas earned a famous, historic penalty shootout victory against France on Saturday to secure a maiden appearance in a World Cup semifinal.

But Australia captain Sam Kerr could have done without the shootout.

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“They’re a roller coaster, honestly, up and down. But pens is just, I hate pens, I wish there was golden goal or something because I just think it’s such a bad way for anyone to lose,” she told media in the mixed zone.

“And obviously we’ve been on the winning side tonight but it’s just a roller coaster and that’s just what pens are.”

Kerr and many of her teammates know the opposite side of the shootout coin all too well. Their 2019 World Cup came to an end via a penalty shootout loss to Norway in the round of 16 in Nice.

Norway would triumph 4-1 with Steph Catley being the only Aussie to convert her kick.

Memories of that shootout no doubt weighed heavily on the thousands of Matildas fans in the stands in Brisbane after regulation and extra time failed to yield a goal for either side.

And one penalty in particular would’ve loomed larger than any other: Sam Kerr’s skied effort.

When asked, Kerr said she couldn’t remember the last penalty she had taken for the national team but admitted that the one in Nice was front and centre of her mind as she stood in line with her teammates on Saturday.

“The only pen I was thinking about when I stepped up is the last World Cup when I missed and just went away from my routine and what I did.

“Last World Cup when I missed, I probably just tried to do something I wasn’t used to. This time was all about routine and all about focus and just doing what I know I’m good at.”

Her focus was so one track, the rest of the shootout wasn’t registering.

“I can’t remember Caitlin [Foord] or Steph’s [Catley] because I was just focusing and staring at the goal for mine,” Kerr admitted.

The 29-year-olds’s return to routine paid dividends with the captain slotting coolly to the left of an outstretched Solène Durand, who was brought on by France coach Herve Renard specifically for the shootout.

And after Matildas goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold saved three penalties and Cortnee Vine converted hers, Kerr and the rest of Australia could celebrate.

Australia will now face England after the Lionesses defeated Colombia 2-1 in their quarterfinal in Sydney.

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