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Youngster Roestbakken called up as injury rules out Alleway

Valenciennes: Laura Alleway’s hopes of a third FIFA Women’s World Cup appearance have been dashed at the eleventh hour due to injury, with uncapped teenager Karly Roestbakken taking the defender’s place in the Australian squad.

The FFA confirmed the last-minute switch on Thursday, just one day before the tournament’s opening match, after Alleway failed to recover from foot injury sustained during the build-up to the competition.

The absence of Alleway, who has earned 60 caps in an international career spanning nearly a decade, comes as a blow to the Matildas but it provides Canberra United youngster Roestbakken with a maiden call up.

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Roestbakken, 18, joined the squad on standby on Tuesday after recently shining in Australia’s successful AFC U-19 Women’s Championship Thailand 2019 qualification campaign, but has yet to experience senior international football.

“This is an unfortunate situation for Laura and as a group we feel for her,” said Australian head coach Ante Milicic.

“We have given her every opportunity to return to full fitness ahead of the tournament, but with our first match now just days away we needed to make a call which has provided Karly a fantastic opportunity.”

Australia will open their FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 campaign against Italy in Valenciennes on Sunday, before further Group C matches against Brazil and tournament debutants Jamaica.

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