Women's World Cup 2019: Jill Ellis unfazed by USWNT's short rest ahead of Spain match

By Chelsea Howard 24 June 2019 61
Women's World Cup 2019: Jill Ellis unfazed by USWNT's short rest ahead of Spain match

The U.S. women's national team enters the first round of the knockout stage with significantly less rest than its opponent, Spain, but coach Jill Ellis is unfazed by the quick transition. 

The Americans finished up their group stage finale with a 2-0 win over Sweden on Thursday and had just three days to rest before facing Spain the round of 16. Spain, on the other hand, played its final group game against China last Monday. Both of those games took place in Le Havre, and Monday's match will be in Reims with temperatures in the 90s.

"We're very used to a three-day rhythm," Ellis told reporters Sunday. "It's what we've done in certain tournaments, specifically for (that) purpose of having a consistent rhythm in what we do. And we can't control, obviously, what our opponent has."

Ellis explained that the USWNT players started their recovery the night of the Sweden game.

"After the huddle, I just said to them, 'The MVP right now is going to be your recovery and your hydration and your attention to detail,' in terms of making sure they do that," Ellis said. "I think our players are fantastic with that, in terms of knowing that the next game starts as soon as that game is over."

For comparison, USA had five days off between its final group game and first knockout-round match in the 2015 tournament.

"I would have taken an extra day or two," Kelley O'Hara said of the Spain game. "But no, it doesn't matter. It's all about getting the job done, whoever we're playing, focus on that."

The winner of Monday's game will play the winner of Sunday's game between France and Brazil in the quarterfinals Friday in Paris. 

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Chelsea Howard