England manager Sarina Wiegman confirmed Keira Walsh suffered a “serious” injury against Denmark after the key Lionesses midfielder was stretchered off during the first half of their Women’s World Cup win.
Walsh was left on crutches after her studs caught on the turf and she went down holding her right knee, an injury which is likely to rule the Barcelona star out for the rest of the World Cup.
The 26-year-old was England’s player of the match when the Lionesses won the Euros last summer and is pivotal to the team’s chances of winning the World Cup in Australia.
Wiegman was unable to provide an update on the extent of Walsh’s injury but confirmed the midfielder is likely to have a scan in the coming days.
“It did look serious so if you can’t walk off the pitch it’s serious,” Wiegman said after England’s 1-0 win against Denmark. “I don’t know, we’ve just finished the game.
“I haven’t heard anything yet. During the game you have to move on and now it is time to look at how she is and the next steps.
England’s record goalscorer Ellen White said on the BBC that Walsh was the most important player in England’s Euros winning campaign last summer and that there was no “Plan B” without the midfielder.
“Everything came through Keira,” White said. “I dreaded to think of the idea of us ever losing her because she was one of our best players. Beth Mead was scoring all the goals but all of our play came through Keira.
“She was the key cog, everything moved through her. I just don’t know who England are going to have now in that six, or even potential double six, role.”
Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall also said on the BBC that Walsh’s injury was a “travesty” to England’s chances of winning the World Cup.
Eidevall had suggested that the dry pitch at the Sydney Football Stadium may have played a part in Walsh’s injury.
“I think it looks very dry,” Eidevall said. “You could see on the movement that when she [Walsh] tries to slide with her right foot, it stops and then twists her knee.
“I think another example of that was the celebration for the first goal. Lauren James tries to knee slide but when she does that on the pitch, she just stops and falls over.
“It looks funny but it’s a danger to player welfare to have such a dry pitch. It should allow you to slide through. It’s not good enough.
“I’m a big advocate of watering the pitches, it makes the passes go faster but it also prevents situations like this. It’s these stopping mechanisms that a lot of the time cause these serious injuries.”
England survived a couple of late scares against Denmark and are on the verge of reaching the knockout stages - a position that could be confirmed later today if China fail to beat Haiti in Group D.
"We started well, we played well and scored the goal and then we had a little stage in the first half [where] we lost balls we didn’t have to lose,” Wiegman added.
"Then we had the horrible moment with Keira. Second half was a fight and the team showed we adapted to the new situation and we had to fight to win. I am very proud of the team."
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