United States midfielder Shannon Boxx has declared herself back to her best and relishing the chance to take on European powerhouse Sweden in the FIFA Women's World Cup.
The 30-year-old Boxx suffered career-threatening injuries that left her sidelined for ten months and with a huge doubt surrounding her chances of taking part at China 2007.
But the defensive midfielder recovered just in time from two torn ligaments in her right knee, the result of a mishap at a training camp in July 2006, that came just two months after she required surgery to her right hip.
"I'm 100 percent back. It (her recovery) came at the right time," said Boxx, a member of the US team that won gold at the 2004 Women's Olympic Football Tournament. "I'm training hard and I'm the fittest I've ever been."
US coach Greg Ryan praised Boxx's performance during their 2-2 draw with North Korea in their FIFA Women's World Cup opener. "We are really so thankful to see her back on her feet again and playing so well," said Ryan who added that it was unclear until August whether Boxx would compete in China where the world number ones are gunning for their third crown.
Boxx said she expected a tough battle against 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup runners-up Sweden on Friday, with both Group B teams desperate for a win to stay in the hunt for a place in the quarter-finals.
"We are both great in the air so you're going to see a battle there," said Boxx. "They (Sweden) have great qualities that we're going to have to defend against and play against. We have to go out and we have to win."