The USWNT had no trouble dispatching Sweden in their final game of the Women's World Cup group stage, even without several of their top starters playing. But they'll have a major injury boost heading into Monday's game against Spain.
Speaking to the media this weekend, USWNT manager Jill Ellis announced that leading scorer Alex Morgan and top midfielder/defender Julie Ertz would both be available for the knockout round. Ertz missed the game against Sweden with a hip injury while Morgan was subbed out at halftime of the game with a knock.
The USWNT set all kinds of records in the group stage, beating Thailand 13-0 before knocking off Chile and Sweden. 3-0 and 2-0 respectively. Their 18 goals scored were the most in the group stage in Women's World Cup history.
“It’s a zero-risk game in terms of having players available for the next round,” Ellis said.
“Alex is fine, she’s fine,” Ellis said. The coach also said in response to a later question about Ertz: “[Julie] is fine.”
Morgan is tied for the tournament lead with five goals, all of which she scored against Thailand.
Ertz has similarly been a dominant force for the Yanks, scoring a goal against Chile.
As for the USWNT's opponent in the knockout round, Spain is the No. 12 team in the world but has been held scoreless in their last two games against Germany and China.
The two sides last played each other in a friendly this past January, with the USWNT emerging victorious at Estadio José Rico Pérez in Alicante, Spain.
Monday's game will be played at 12 p.m. EST and will be aired on FS1 and Telemundo.