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Football Ferns' 23-strong world cup squad announced

The Football Ferns' final squad for this year's World Cup has been named with coach Tom Sermanni selecting 23 players for the tournament.

Sermanni's squad was announced this morning ahead of their final set of friendly matches building up to the tournament in France.

Striker Hannah Wilkinson has won her race for fitness to feature in the side after suffering a serious knee injury last October.

Wilkinson is joined in the forwards by Sarah Gregorius, Paige Satchell and Rosie White.

Emma Kete managed to claim the final forwards spot ahead of Aimee Phillips and Katie Rood after making her first appearance for the Ferns since 2015 earlier this year.

Sermanni said Kete's selection should be an example to any striving athlete.

"Emma's comeback is a great lesson in maturity and how you can really play your way back in. If you are really focused, work hard and look to do the right things, you have got an opportunity. She has come back into the fold after being away from the team for a long time, but she has shown her intent to be a part of this squad."

Erin Nayler. Source: Photosport

Elsewhere, goalkeeper Nadia Olla has also earned a spot in the squad ahead of Under-17 Women's World Cup hero Anna Leat, despite being her back up at last year's Under-20s tournament which was also held in France.

Olla will be back-up to keepers Vic Esson and Erin Nayler.

Veteran Abby Erceg, who came out of retirement for a second time in January after Sermanni replaced controversial coach Andreas Heraf in the national side, leads the large group of defenders named.

Erceg is joined by CJ Bott, Anna Green, Steph Skilton, Meikayla Moore, Sarah Morton, Ali Riley and Rebekah Stott at the back.

Australia's Samantha Kerr, left, heads the ball past New Zealand's Rebekah Stott during their Cup of Nations. Source: Associated Press

Rounding out the squad in the midfield, Sermanni has selected six players for the tournament: Katie Bowen, Olivia Chance, Daisy Cleverley, Katie Duncan, Annalie Longo, Betsy Hassett and Ria Percival.

Sermanni said he's happy to have plenty of experience in the side, with six players - Percival, Erceg, Riley, Hassett, Duncan and Longo - all having more than 100 A internationals under their belts for New Zealand.

"I am really happy with the group," Sermanni said. "We have a good balance of experienced players, who have been there and know what it is all about, and we have some young up and coming players to complement that.

"Those experienced players are very important for this tournament... for this particular cycle, including the Olympics, it may be the last one at this level so it makes it critical for them. I know they are all keen to go out with a good impression."

With the team finalised, the Ferns now head to the United States to begin the final leg of the prepartions for June's tournament. They have four games against the US, Mexico, England and Wales before their world cup campaign begins on June 12 against the Netherlands.

Their pool also features Canada and Cameroon.

Football Ferns' Fifa Women's World Cup squad

Goalkeepers: Vic Esson, Erin Nayler, Nadia Olla

Defenders: CJ Bott, Abby Erceg, Anna Green, Steph Skilton, Meikayla Moore, Sarah Morton, Ali Riley, Rebekah Stott

Midfielders: Katie Bowen, Olivia Chance, Daisy Cleverley, Katie Duncan, Annalie Longo, Betsy Hassett, Ria Percival

Forwards: Sarah Gregorius, Emma Kete, Paige Satchell, Rosie White, Hannah Wilkinson

Football Ferns' Rosie White in action during a Cup of Nations match against South Korea at AAMI Park in Melbourne. Source: Photosport


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