USA coach Jill Ellis believes her team have had the “hardest route” to the Women’s World Cup final after their 2-1 last four victory over England.
The Americans reached their third straight final on Tuesday with their victory over the Lionesses, despite being without Megan Rapinoe.
Ellis revealed after the match that Rapinoe, who has five goals at the Women’s World Cup, has a “slight” hamstring strain but she expects her to be available for Sunday’s final.
The USA have faced Spain, France and England in the knockout stages and Ellis is delighted they have come through three stern tests to book a place in the showpiece this weekend.
“I told the players I think this is the hardest route to a final a team has probably ever taken in terms of level of competition,” Ellis told a news conference.
“But they find a way and I attribute that to the mental strength of the culture, the environment, the history of the nation and I think they are vetted in pressure and you saw that tonight.
“It’s resolve and it’s fantastic – games where you have to have that… it’s the World Cup finals, it’s not Sunday soccer. As a coach you rely on players having that mental capacity and that’s through creating a coaching environment that makes it as competitive.”
The USA will face either the Netherlands or Sweden in the final. The USA are 1.22 to win the Women’s World Cup outright, the Netherlands are 6.50 and Sweden are 9.00.