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Lancashire
Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Wiegman targeting glory for England and Team GB

Sarina Wiegman is hoping her England side can achieve “another high” – and provide Team GB with an Olympics boost in the process – when they take on the Netherlands at Wembley tomorrow night.

European champions England go into the game third in Nations League Group A1 having taken six points from their four games. They have two games to go and must win both to stand a realistic chance of qualifying.

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If they do go through, and then win their Nations League semi-final, it will mean Team GB – who chose England as their nominated nation – will have a team at next summer’s Olympics in Paris.

It adds up to a lot of pressure on Wiegman and her team but she was in a confident mood despite a recent run of patchy form.

She said: “If you look at the games, I don’t think we’ve played really poorly. Just in moments, we didn’t get it over the line and we got some losses, which is not good.

“We want to do better, but that’s also sport. In football, just as in life, you have ups and downs. We want to reach another high and that’s what we’ll try to do tomorrow.”

Goalkeeper Mary Earps will captain England against the Dutch with defender Millie Bright out injured, while Wiegman can also count on Arsenal winger Beth Mead who is back following a long-term cruciate injury.

“We have lots of players up front who are in good form and I am really excited that she is back,” said Wiegman.

“First of all, as a person after what she has gone through in the last year. She always smiles and connects with everyone.

“It is good to have her back but it starts with her performances. At Arsenal she is just building her minutes and you can tell she is in a good place. Her last game was incredible, her second goal in particular was really nice.

“It is like she hasn’t been away. She feels good and trains really well. We have lots of hard decisions to make ahead of Friday.”

Lauren Hemp will win her 50th cap tomorrow and the Manchester City attacking midfielder knows how much is on the line.

“There’s a lot at stake and we know, as a group, what’s expected of us,” she said.

“When it comes to it and when we’re put under pressure, a lot of the time we do the job, and hopefully we can do that tomorrow.

“I’ve been to an Olympics before so I’ve experienced it once but I want to experience it again. I want to be at major tournaments every year.

“We’ve seen what we can achieve as an England group and the next few years are so important for us. We’ve got a lot of major tournaments coming up and right now our sights are set on the Olympics.”

“We’ve got a couple of important games coming up to put us in good stead to compete in that tournament and that’s what we want to do as a group. We’ve all got that desire.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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