Sam Kerr

The Aussie captain had just scored twice in the 4-3 extra-time win and become the equal highest goal scorer of all time for the Matildas with 47 goals.

But instead she thanked Aussies for their support.

“We feel the love from home and we’re doing everything we can to make you proud. I hope you all felt it today, so let’s go the mighty Aussies,” she said.

This Olympic campaign hasn’t been all smooth sailing for Australia, having lost to Sweden in the group stage and facing criticism for a dull nil-all draw with the United States.

But while there might have been some frustration within the camp after those results, it wasn’t shown publicly.

It’s a far cry from her comments after a 3-2 win against Brazil at the World Cup two years ago.

Sam Kerr celebrates her second goal against Team GB.

Sam Kerr celebrates her second goal against Team GB.Source:Getty Images

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It shows how far Kerr and the Matildas have come in that time ahead of the semi-final against Sweden on Monday night.

Two years ago they were facing plenty of criticism. Alen Stajcic’s surprise sacking five months before the World Cup had divided the Australian football media.

Then came a loss to Italy in the first group game and the critics were out in force.

After that come-from-behind-win against Brazil in 2019, Kerr had a message for the haters.

“There was (sic) a lot of critics talking about us but we’re back so suck on that one,” she said straight after the game.

“Social media gives people a platform to say whatever they want, so it was good to kind of send a message back home and send a message to the rest of the world.

“We knew this would happen. We knew people would be quick to judge but that’s football and look what we did today.”

“People don’t understand the belief we have in this team, they don’t understand the confidence we have in each other,” Kerr said after the match.

“One game was not gonna derail our World Cup hopes - and that’s why it was so frustrating for us because instead of the media being (like), ‘we can turn this around’, it turned negative on us and it only fuelled us, so thank you.”

Sam Kerr reacts after missing her team's first penalty in the penalty shootout against Norway at the 2019 World Cup.

Sam Kerr reacts after missing her team's first penalty in the penalty shootout against Norway at the 2019 World Cup.Source:Getty Images

Her comments received plenty of praise, but also showed her “immaturity” according to former Matildas captain Cheryl Sainsbury.

“It showed a bit of fire and a bit of passion, but also a bit of immaturity as well as a player and leader off the field as well,” Sainsbury said at the time.

Despite her “suck on that” comment showing some fire, it ultimately was for nothing. The Matildas were knocked out in the round of 16 by Norway at the World Cup.

Kerr missed the first penalty in that shootout defeat.

Kerr has still faced criticism this tournament. She scored both goals in the 4-2 loss against Sweden, but crucially missed a penalty when it was 3-2.

But the 2021 Kerr is showing greater leadership on and off the pitch.

“I can’t explain how proud I am to be a part of this team and to lead this team out. Every day they surprise me,” Kerr said after the win against Great Britain.

“We’ve got kids out there, we’ve got Mary [Fowler] who is 18 and I’m just so proud of everyone.”

As for any remaining critics of the Matildas, Kerr seems happy to let her football on the pitch do the talking.

And with five goals from four games, it’s saying plenty.

Source : https://www.news.com.au/sport/olympics/suck-on-that-one-sam-kerrs-turnaround/news-story/7530dc53d84c8737745080b144981f42

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