Kerr: ‘We were the better team’
AUSTRALIA'S No.1 striker, Sam Kerr, wouldn't have had much time to reflect on consecutive AFC Asian Cup final defeats for the Matildas, as she woke at the crack of dawn in Amman on Saturday to fly to the US.
She has work to do with her new club, Chicago Reds Stars.
Kerr wasn't visibly upset after Japan shocked the Matildas with an 84th minute goal via Kumi Yokoyama, but she was angry - annoyed by the fact that Australia had walked away with second place after literally battering the Japanese for most of the match, with absolutely nothing to show for it in a 1-0 loss at Amman Stadium.
"I'm lost for words, two games in a row we've dominated them and they just scored a goal and that's been the end of it,'' said Kerr, also referring to the 1-1 draw in the Group B clash last week when her late show goal put the Matildas through to the FIFA World Cup next year.
"We qualified for the World Cup and we got here to the final against Japan for a second time.
"We were the better team and I wouldn't say they deserved the Asian Cup, that's the most frustrating thing.
"We have to learn from it, we just have to take our chances.
"The hardest thing for me now is the Asian Cup now is four years away and it was four years ago when we lost the last one.
"It's now going to be eight years until we can win it again and 12 years since the last time we won it (in 2010)."
Japan has beaten Australia in two consecutive Asian Cup finals, having won the trophy for a first time in 2014 in Vietnam.
The 2011 FIFA World Cup champion also knocked Australia out of the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Canada in 2015, the Matildas ending up with 1-0 losses in all three of their matches.
Kerr refused to label Japan as a bogey side, saying Australia needed to make the most of all the chances created before and after Elise Kellond-Knight's 15th-minute penalty was saved by Japanese goalkeeper Ayaka Yamashita.
With the Matildas in camp since February 17 apart from a short break after the Algarve Cup in Portugal, the side had been together for close to 60 days, but Kerr said the side didn't get cabin fever.
"You don't get sick of each other, but me, myself, you get sick of the same routine,'' Kerr said.
"It was nice to do things like the Dead Sea (in Jordan) and all that. It's over now and now I've just got to focus on the World Cup next year."
It's been seven years since the 24-year-old Matildas star has had a serious break from the game, but she doesn't see playing soccer as work, taking the next challenge at club level in her stride.
"Barring injury I haven't had a break since the Germany World Cup in 2011,'' Kerr said.
"I'm fine. This is my job, I love it. Sometimes you need a break and because I have had injuries, I haven't, but now it's back to the United States, the NWSL and I'm excited for something new now."