Sam Kerr strike secures Matildas' World Cup spot and Asian Cup semi-final

Sam Kerr Matildas
The striker has once again saved the day with one the most important goals of her blossoming career

A goal at the death from an in-form Sam Kerr has handed the Matildas a crucial 1-1 draw with Japan at the Asian Cup to secure a spot in the semi-finals but more importantly Australia's place at the 2019 World Cup in France.

After an underwhelming performance in Jordan, the Matildas looked set for defeat against their longtime rivals after midfielder Mizuho Sakaguchi had put the Japanese ahead in the 63rd minute. 

But as has often been the case over the past year, Kerr was determined to leave her mark on the match with the striker finishing from a tight angle in the 86th minute to ensure a precious draw for the Matildas.

Not only does the point ensure the Matildas finish a tight Asian Cup group first with a semi-final to come against Thailand, but the result also means automatic qualification to next year's World Cup for a side whose last draw came 401 days ago. 

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After scoring in a national record seven straight games earlier this year, Kerr continued her hot streak with another goal and was overwhelmed at the final whistle over what this strike meant.

"Everything is a bit of a blur right now after qualifying," Kerr said.

"We should have taken our chances in the first half, but the main thing was to qualify for the World Cup and we have done that now.

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"I'm not thinking about individual things, and I don't think anyone on our team is and it has always been that way."

The Matildas will play Thailand on Tuesday night looking to go one step closer to reclaiming the Asian Cup they won back in 2010.