Matildas captain Sam Kerr has joined an exclusive list of Australian showstoppers, with her long-range strike in the 2023 Women’s World Cup semi-finals against England nominated for the Puskas Award.
Kerr faces stiff competition on the 11-strong list of nominees for the 2023 edition of the award, but the nomination in itself pays testament to the quality of the strike, with the stakes of the World Cup semi-final making both the ambition to take on the shot, and the execution itself, all the more impressive.
It’s the second year in succession an Australian has featured among the final nominees, after Alou Kuol’s scorpion kick scored against Iraq for the Olyroos.
Only five Aussies have earned a nomination for the annual award, given to the player who scores what FIFA describes as “the most aesthetically significant goal” of the year.
Australian nominees for the Puskas Award – a history
Lisa De Vanna
- Sky Blue FC v Boston Breakers (2013)
Matildas great Lisa De Vanna was the first Australian to earn a Puskas Award nomination when playing for Sky Blue FC in the United States’ National Women’s Soccer League – and what a way to kick off the list of Aussie wonder strikes.
The goal came from a nifty piece of acrobatics from De Vanna, who received a cross in the box which initially looked too high and behind her body, before she spun to face away from goal and whip an overhead attempt off her left foot into the top-left corner.
- Socceroos v Netherlands (2014)
One of those “where were you” moments in Socceroos history. Tim Cahill, at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, against the Netherlands, with Australia trailing 1-0 after Arjen Robben’s opening goal.
Then came the kick-off to resume play at Estadio Beira-Rio. Seconds later, Cahill produced one of the goals of his career, plucked straight from the top drawer.
- Newcastle Jets v Melbourne City (2018)
Is it the best goal ever scored in the Isuzu UTE A-League?
The Puskas Award nomination doesn’t necessarily make that a foregone conclusion; there have been plenty of remarkable goals throughout the league’s history, but Riley McGree’s Finals Series scorpion kick is a top contender due to its freakish nature, its audacity and undeniable quality.
McGree was beaten that season by Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, for a goal scored against Everton that didn’t even claim goal of the month honours in the English Premier League.
The typical reaction online was: how!?
Vintage Alou Kuol strike. Vintage Alou Kuol reaction.
The kid from Shepparton from a special footballing family scored a ridiculous scorpion kick for the Olyroos against Iraq at the 2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup, and afterwards delivered a typically-charismatic assessment of the wondergoal he jokingly described as a 5/10 effort.
“I was running forward and saw the ball go behind me, and I just thought ‘yeah, let’s do it’,” said Kuol.
“I couldn’t do anything else so I just hit it and it came off.”
He added: “Out of 10? I’d give it a five. That’s normal. Just give me the same ball and I’ll do it again!”
“I’m lying, that was nice.”
- Matildas v England (2023)
Pure class from Sam Kerr.
The Matildas captain was desperate to give the fans a moment to remember at the 2023 World Cup, after a nightmare group stage hampered by a calf injury suffered on the eve of the tournament.
Cometh the moment, cometh the Sam.
The Matildas would go on to lose 3-1 in a World Cup semi-final against England – but not before a moment of brilliance from Kerr which, at the time, sewed the game up at 1-1 and gave Australia a fighting chance of progressing to the final in front of nearly 80,000 fans at Stadium Australia.
View the Rules of Allocation for the full voting process.