Australia advanced to the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Cup by beating Denmark 2-0 in Sydney on Monday.
Goals from Caitlin Foord and Hayley Raso ensured the Matlidas weren’t the latest big name to crash out following the eliminations of holder the United States, Germany and Brazil.
The tournament co-host will face France or Morocco in Brisbane on Saturday.
In front of a crowd of 75,784 at Stadium Australia, the Matildas already put themselves on course for the last eight by the time Kerr made her entrance in the 80th minute.
Foord fired Australia in front in the 29th after running on to a pass from Mary Fowler.
Raso drilled home a second in the 70th after Emily van Egmond’s lay off.
The Sydney Opera House was lit up in the yellow and green colours of the Matildas as excitement grew ahead of kickoff.
Australian fans feared their team wouldn’t even get out of their group after losing to Nigeria. But a 4-0 win against Canada in its final Group B match secured top spot.
Back in Stadium Australia where it began its campaign on July 20, the Matildas were still without Kerr from the kickoff.
The striker injured her left calf on the eve on that opening game and did not play in the group stage. Despite recovering from the injury, she was named as a substitute against Denmark.
While she sat on the bench, Australia was still too strong for Denmark.
Foord was close to scoring a second before halftime when a shot across goal looped just past the post with Christensen beaten.
Van Egmond’s backheel from close range was then saved.
But the crowd celebrated as if Australia had scored again when Kerr was shown on the big screen preparing to come on.
Moments later, Australia did score after Fowler found Van Egmond in the box and she laid off to Raso, who drilled a low shot through a crowded area into the bottom corner.
Kerr replaced Raso 10 minutes later to crown a night of celebrations.