Portsmouth-born Jill Ellis begins her bid for Women’s World Cup glory with USA in the early hours of this morning (12.30am), when the tournament favourites take on Australia in Canada.
Growing up in Waterlooville, 48-year-old Ellis – who moved Stateside at the age of 15 – has carved out an impressive reputation which has seen her land the most high-profile job in women’s football.
And it will be she who is entasked with ending USA’s 16-year wait for the sport’s most prestigious trophy.
Speaking to the Guardian, Ellis, who was overlooked for England women’s managerial position in the wake of Hope Powell’s 2013 departure, said: ‘We want to win the World Cup.
‘The expectation has hardened this team.
‘They have steel because that’s what they’re used to; the responsibility to their country.
‘Realistically, we have a good enough team and players.
‘We are capable of winning.’
Meanwhile, Pompey Ladies striker Ini Umotong has been named on the bench for Nigeria’s clash with Sweden tonight (9pm).