• Tuesday Jun 30, 2015

    U.S. confident ahead of FWWC semifinal

    The USA's Alex Morgan (pictured) runs during a training session on June 29, 2015, at the Stade Olympique in Montreal, Canada. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)

    MONTREAL, Canada – There will be high drama on Tuesday at the Stade Olympique as the United States and Germany – the world’s top two teams -- battle for the right to play in the FIFA Women’s World Cup final.

    Yet despite the palpable tension surrounding the showdown, U.S. manager Jill Ellis and striker Alex Morgan remain assured.

    “It’s almost like a final itself,” said Morgan, the 2013 CONCACAF Player of the Year. “It’s the No. 1 and the No. 2 teams in the world squaring off. We’re all excited to get underway. I think it’s going to be a great game for the fans.”

    Ellis, managing in her first World Cup, quickly echoed the star striker’s comments.

    “We’re thrilled to be in the semifinals,” said the 48-year-old Ellis. “Obviously Germany is a terrific team and I think it's going to be a fantastic match. Two great sides, worthy of a semifinal matchup.”

    However, despite their complimentary expressions, it has not been all smooth sailing for the American duo at this year’s FIFA showcase. While Morgan has been battling a return to full fitness after entering the competition with a knee injury, Ellis has been tasked with finding ways to unleash more offensive production.

    If the burdens of the task are weighing heavily, Ellis and Morgan certainly have not put them on display. In a press conference on Monday, both appeared immune to the stress inherent to the World Cup semifinal stage.

    “You can’t let anything distract you from what you’re trying to accomplish,” Ellis remarked. “My job is to do whatever I have to do to prepare this team. In terms of pressure, you don’t go in to a job like this without knowing that pressures are going to be high, but I don’t lose sleep over it because ultimately this is the professional environment we chose.”

    Morgan, seemingly unaffected and smiling throughout, dismissed any notions of stress and couldn’t hide her excitement about the upcoming match.

    “This is a game that we have been preparing for, for a very long time,” concluded Morgan. “All of our preparation the last couple of years has been building up towards tomorrow. I’m really excited. We’ve been watching this German team throughout the World Cup knowing that we may have to face them in the semifinal. The day has finally come… we’re ready.”

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