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Matildas rising star forced out through injury

SA RELEASE: The Qantas Matildas have suffered a setback leading up to next month’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, with defender Thea Slatyer a forced withdrawal through serious knee injury. Karla Reuter, a debutante at senior international level, has been selected as the replacement.

Slatyer was the first from the successful Qantas Young Matildas team which placed fifth at the 2002 FIFA U19 Women’s World Championship to be promoted to make her senior international debut. Since making her first appearance last September, Slatyer has gone on to establish herself as a regular member of the squad.

The Sydneysider sustained the untimely knee injury four minutes after coming on as a substitute against South Korea a fortnight ago in Japan. Slatyer, age 20, will undergo an arthroscopy on Monday and is expected to also have reconstruction surgery on her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) at the same time.

Reuter, age 19, now becomes the youngest member of the 20-strong World Cup team, and is also a graduate from the 2002 U19 World Championship team. Reuter, who hails from Toowoomba, played every minute of Australia’s four matches at the Championship in Canada, and scored a fantastic freekick in the quarterfinal against Brazil.

“Obviously this is a tragedy for Thea and for the team – it’s the last thing we needed at this time,” said Qantas Matildas Coach Adrian Santrac. “Everyone is saddened with the loss of Thea for the World Cup, and she won’t be forgotten within the group as we embark on our campaign. However, the reality is that these things can happen, and it has now created the opportunity for Karla to come in as the replacement. It’s a wonderful opportunity for Karla, and I expect she’ll perform well when called upon.”

The 4th FIFA Women’s World Cup – USA 2003 is scheduled for 20 September to 12 October. The Qantas Matildas open their campaign on Sunday 21 September against Russia, followed by China on Thursday 25 September, then Ghana on Sunday 28 September. The Final Draw for the 2003 Women’s World Cup produced the following groups –

Group A – USA, Sweden, Nigeria, DPR Korea

Group B – Norway, France, Brazil, Korea Republic

Group C – Germany, Canada, Japan, Argentina

Group D – China, Ghana, AUSTRALIA, Russia.

The full match schedule is available on FIFAworldcup.com at – http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com/03/en/t/match/index.html

USA was named as the new host nation after FIFA moved the event from original host China following the outbreak of the SARS virus. USA 2003 will be Australia’s third consecutive Women’s World Cup finals appearance. The Qantas Matildas placed 12th (of twelve nations) in Sweden 1995, and 11th (of sixteen) in USA 1999.

AUSTRALIAN TEAM - FIFA WOMEN'S WORLD CUP, USA 2003: Updated Team list:

Players (20): Program Hometown Pos DOB Caps

Dianne ALAGICH AIS/San Jose Adelaide D 12/05/79 38

Melissa BARBIERI AIS/VIS Melbourne GK 20/01/80 8

Amy BEATTIE AIS/ACTAS Canberra GK 08/09/80 0

Hayley CRAWFORD AIS/NSWIS Newcastle F 27/03/84 6

Rhian DAVIES AIS/ACTAS Sydney D 05/01/81 19

Bryony DUUS AIS/QAS Brisbane M 07/10/77 39

Gill FOSTER AIS/ACTAS Sydney M 28/08/76 17

Heather GARRIOCK AIS/QAS Sydney M 21/12/82 37

Kelly GOLEBIOWSKIAIS/Washington Sydney F 26/07/81 55

Pam GRANT AIS/QAS RockhamptonD 15/11/82 5

Tal KARP AIS/ACTAS Perth M 30/12/81 12

Cassandra KELL AIS/NSWIS Cen Coast GK 08/08/80 8

April MANN AIS/QAS Brisbane F 21/04/78 18

Joanne PETERS(V) AIS/New York Leeton M 11/03/79 49

Karla REUTER AIS/QAS Toowoomba D 14/06/84 -

Taryn ROCKALL AIS/NSWIS Sydney M 11/11/77 7

Cheryl SALISBURY(C)AIS/New York Newcastle D 08/03/74 85

Danielle SMALL AIS/NSWIS Newcastle M 07/02/79 18

Sacha WAINWRIGHT(V)AIS/ACTAS Canberra D 06/02/72 51

Amy WILSON AIS / ACTAS Canberra F 09/06/80 37

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