USWNT manager Ellis pronounces Ertz and Morgan 'fine' to face Spain

The duo both had slight injury concerns heading into Monday night’s last-16 encounter against La Roja

U.S. women’s national team manager Jill Ellis has said that key performers Alex Morgan and Julie Ertz are both “fine” ahead of Monday’s last-16 match against Spain.

The USWNT will take on Spain at the Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims with a place in the quarterfinal at stake, but the availability of two of its best players was in doubt following Thursday’s group-stage finale against Sweden.

Ertz missed that game with a hip contusion as the U.S. defeated Sweden 2-0 to cap off a group stage that saw the team win all three of its games while scoring 18 goals and conceding none. 

The U.S. set a World Cup record for the most goals scored in any World Cup group stage, men’s or women’s.

Morgan was taken off at halftime against Sweden with what Ellis called a “knock,” with the manager indicating after the game that the substitution was precautionary.

“It’s a zero-risk game in terms of having players available for the next round,” Ellis said.

Ellis was asked on Sunday about both players, and although she was not in a mood to reveal much about the duo, she indicated that they should be ready to go for Monday’s game.

“Alex is fine, she’s fine,” Ellis said. The coach also said in response to a later question about Ertz: “[Julie] is fine.”

Morgan started the tournament with a record-setting five-goal performance against Thailand, tying the mark for most goals in a World Cup game in her team’s 13-0 victory. She was then rested alongside a host of other starters in the USWNT’s 3-0 win over Chile.

Ertz started against both Thailand and Chile, scoring a goal against the South Americans, before being rested against Sweden due to her hip injury.

The winner of the game between the U.S. and Spain will face the winner of Sunday night’s last-16 encounter between hosts France and Brazil, with the quarterfinal set for Friday night at Parc des Princes in Paris.

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