Key Matildas under injury cloud for Brazil

Matildas coach Ante Milicic has attributed Clare Polkinghorne's hamstring tightness to "crazy" new offside interpretations at the World Cup.

ante milicic coaches during the ps4 player pathway award camp in sydney australia
ANTE MILICIC coaches during the PS4 Player Pathway Award Camp in Sydney, Australia. Picture: Jason McCawley/Getty Images

Injury worries in the Matildas camp have worsened for Ante Milicic, with three more senior players in doubt for Australia's crunch match with Brazil on Thursday.

Clare Polkinghorne, Caitlin Foord and Lisa De Vanna all picked up issues in the loss to Italy, and weren't able to join in training on Wednesday (AEST).

Milicic is confident all three will recover to face South Americans, but the fact they were only able to walk laps adds uncertainty to their prospects.

Mary Fowler didn't train with the main group in their first session in Montpellier, but showed enough progress from a hamstring issue to resume sprinting.

However, Australia's chief injury concern, Elise Kellond-Knight, returned to training and looks on track to start.

"We're hoping so. Definitely more minutes than she got the other day," Milicic said.

De Vanna has a corked thigh, with Milicic waiting to see how the 34-year-old pulls up in the next 48 hours before considering her for a role against Brazil.

The Matildas medical team is more sure of Foord resuming after an "impact knock".

Polkinghorne reported hamstring tightness after the match, which caused Milicic to take aim at a new FIFA ruling.

The introduction of the video assistant referee has led assistant referees to keep their flags down during offside calls, knowing the review can

That decision, combined with Australia's defensive high line, meant that Matildas defenders were backtracking to chase offside attackers several times through the match.

"It's really crazy," Milicic said.

"I'd understand now if coaches just leave their strikers one metre offside, kick the ball over the top and make the whole defence run back.

"Our defence has to run back 40 metres seven or eight times a game which gives you an extra 300 high speed metres that are not necessary.

"It's understandable that Clare is a little bit tight with all that unnecessary running. So yeah, she's a little bit tight.

We're confident they'll be okay."

While Australia's strength up front means Foord and De Vanna can be covered, it's a different story down back.

Should Polkinghorne not be available, Steph Catley would shift to centre back and one of Amy Harrison, Gema Simon or Karly Roestbakken would come in at left back.

Kellond-Knight played the last 10 minutes in Valenciennes and

"So I'm putting my hand up for selection, it just depends what the coaches want for the team on Thursday.


AAP