HomeNews UKSarina Wiegman reacts to England's UEFA Women's Nations League draw

Sarina Wiegman reacts to England’s UEFA Women’s Nations League draw

Wiegman is an icon in her native Netherlands, having become the first female player to wear the shirt a century before going on to lead the country as head coach to the Euro 2017 championship and a 2019 World Cup Finals

The two sides went head to head last year on the eve of UEFA’s Women’s Euros, in which Wiegman won the title for the second time, but that 5-1 defeat was overseen by the former Netherlands manager. Mark Parsons, with Andries Jonker currently leading the team.

And Wiegman said: “Of course, the games against the Netherlands will be really special because we know each other very well and that is my hometown.

“I think these are going to be very competitive games and we saw in a friendly last year that there was a big difference between the first half [when it was 1-1] and the second half [which finished 5-1].

“It is great to not only play in England but also play in the Netherlands with England. I expect two very competitive games and high level games so I’m really excited about them.

“I know head coach Andries Jonker very well. I worked with him a long time ago when he was the interim coach and I was the captain at the time, so that will also be very special.

“He’s changed a few things and he’s trying to introduce a new style of play so it would be nice to play against him.”

Belgium is another team the staff and players know well, with a 3-0 win over EURO 2022 and then a 6-1 win at the Arnold Clark Cup in February.

The Red Flames, currently ranked 19th in the world, narrowly missed out on World Cup qualifiers but reached the quarterfinals of Euros last summer, also beating Italy and South Korea in the Arnold Clark Cup.

The England head coach said: “I think Belgium are a really good team. At the Arnold Clark Cup, they had a lot of injuries and struggled against us because of the depth of the squad but they did well in the Arnold Clark Cup.

“At the EURO they played really well and you really see the progress they have made over the years, because I played against them a few times in that period.

“Their coach Ives Serneels has been there for a long time, which gives them consistency and he is really working on building the team.

“They’re always tough, they want to play football, they’re really organized and they just missed out on World Cup qualifiers, so you can never underestimate a team like Belgium.”

The fourth team drawn into League A1 is Scotland.

SWNT missed out on qualifying for EURO 2022 and the World Cup this summer but under former Arsenal manager Pedro Martínez, Losa beat Australia and Costa Rica in the international competition this past weekend.

England haven’t seen their neighbors since the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup when the Lions won 2-1 thanks to goals from Nikita Parris and Ellen White.

And Wiegman said: “I have heard of the rivalry between England and Scotland! I am expecting a good competition because many of their players play in the Women’s Super League so will know our players.

“Pedro is famous in club football but I don’t know much about them right now because we haven’t faced them since the 2019 World Cup.

“I haven’t had a chance to review their wins against Australia and Costa Rica but they are promising results.”

Wiegman spoke on Tuesday night, just hours after it was confirmed that Fran Kirby would miss this summer’s World Cups in Australia and New Zealand due to knee surgery.

The news comes after captain Leah Williamson was ruled out of the World Cup last month with an ACL injury, with Beth Mead also suffering the same fate in November.

“It’s devastating for the players and they’re understandably gutted – it’s really sad for the players,” said Wiegman.

“Leah has done an excellent job as our captain and she is in good form when that happens. It’s horrible for her and sad for the team that she’s not around – she’s going to be missed.

“And the same goes for Fran. She’s been sidelined for longer and it’s another injury but we were hoping she could continue to improve.

“Things didn’t go as we all hoped and she will now enter another schedule to try to get in shape.

“Above all, it’s horrible for her and disappointing for the whole team. But on the other hand, it gives other players a chance to show their quality.”

“It’s hard and cruel for top sport, where we have to carry on and not focus on who’s absent but instead focus on who’s going to be there and who’s ready, when we’re out. I try to reach the highest level that we can.”

Ahead of Kirby’s announcement, all talk on Tuesday revolved around the Women’s Nations League for the first time but the Lions’ focus will quickly return to this summer’s World Cup, which will takes place on July 20.

“Today was interesting, now we know who we will face in September, but now we are back to focus on the World Cup,” said Wiegman.

“We are in a good position with our preparation and we said at the end of the April transfer window that we have a lot of information about our team but there are a lot of games left at club level. sets and trophies to win at the club level where we’ll work with the technical staff and other logistics staff, then we’ll see who’s available to pick and choose best team. Then we can really step up our preparations.”


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