Algarve Quote Sheet: WNT vs. Iceland - March 9, 2015

U.S. WNT head coach Jill Ellis

On the match:
“I think going in we knew it was going to be a physical game. We had to stay in two-touch rhythm because certainly if we spent too much time on the ball they were going to come in and hit us hard. But this game was good because, one, I got to see players I needed to see, and two we got to rest some legs for the final.”

On what the team has to look forward to when they face France for the second time this year:
“It’s going to be another great test. Everything is about making strides, so it’s another opportunity to gauge where we’re at and see how far we’ve come in a month. The most important thing of going to a World Cup is the upward trend; in terms of performance, fitness and all the components that will help us win.”

On the challenge France will represent:
“They’re a very highly-skillful team, like to move the ball, and are a tremendous attacking team with a lot of good personalities and players. They’ve shown that they’re a top quality team, and it’s going to be another fantastic opportunity to play them.”

U.S. WNT forward Alex Morgan

On the match:
“I think Iceland’s strategy was definitely to frustrate us and not let us set the pace of the game. It was choppy but we knew that with a tie we could be in the final and we’re happy to be play for the championship now.”

U.S. WNT midfielder Heather O’Reilly

On Iceland’s competitiveness:
“I think that Iceland was good in terms of energy and competitiveness and compactness. It was a good, difficult match but our main goal which was making the final and we did enough.”

On being able to rest players:
“This is a really deep group and team, and we have different players who play different roles. It was good to rest some legs and be able to get ready for France.”

On facing France for the second time in about a month:
“We hate losing, so we’re still obviously disappointed in the result when we were in France. It’s nice that a month later we get to see them again and hopefully turn that result around.”

U.S. WNT defender Becky Sauerbrunn

On the physical match:
“It was definitely a game of duels and winning your individual battles. It was really about reading second balls, just being competitive and trying to be first to things and breaking pressure. You just kind of have to keep your head and stick with our game plan. (Iceland defensive tactics are) tough though, but you try to find people in the seams and kind of play our game. It’s tough when they’re disruptive but you have to go to the basics and that’s winning balls and connecting passes.”

On getting the opportunity to face France again after losing to them back in February:
“I think we’re on neutral ground now, we’re not in France, so that’s different. We want to right the wrongs that happened in that game.”