A Homecoming With A Twist: Sarina Wiegman Returns to the Netherlands As England’s Coach
A Clash of Giants
England Women’s team manager, Sarina Wiegman, is no stranger to the international footballing stage. However, her latest challenge takes on a more personal hue, as she prepares to lead her English team, the Lionesses, against her home nation, the Netherlands, in the Women’s Nations League. This match is not just a regular fixture in the league; it’s a homecoming of sorts for Wiegman, who led the Dutch team to victory in Euro 2017 and then replicated the feat with England in Euro 2022.
The Road to Paris Olympics
The Lionesses’ campaign in the Women’s Nations League started on a high, with a victory against Scotland. This win places them on par with Belgium in the four-team group A1. England is the nominated nation on behalf of Team GB to secure a place in the Paris Olympics. The path to qualification is not easy, though. The Lionesses must either win the group and reach the Nations League final or finish third if hosts France are in the final two.
Managing Differences and Expectations
Wiegman’s transition from managing the Netherlands to England has been marked by notable differences. The women’s game in England is much larger in scale, with more media attention, a larger pool of players, and a fully professional league. Wiegman’s position has also come with an increased focus on her role as a manager, something she finds a bit odd but is adapting to.
Coaching Philosophy and Player Development
Manchester City winger Lauren Hemp spoke highly of Wiegman’s coaching, stating that she feels she is improving and gaining confidence under her guidance. Wiegman’s coaching philosophy, which emphasizes organization, structure, and clear footballing philosophy, has been compared to that of Louis van Gaal, one of the most successful Dutch football managers. The current coach of the Netherlands, Andries Jonker, made this comparison, which is a testament to Wiegman’s influence on the game.
Preparation and Strategy
As the match against the Netherlands approaches, Wiegman and her team are preparing meticulously. After analyzing their performance against Scotland, they are working on improving certain aspects and maintaining excellence in areas where they performed well. The goal is clear: elevate their performance to new heights. Wiegman has confirmed the availability of her entire squad, including Alessia Russo, who was absent from the Scotland match due to late joining after recovering from Arsenal’s Champions League qualifying matches.
A Tribute to the Trailblazer
Wiegman took a moment to pay tribute to Megan Rapinoe, who recently played her last game for the United States. Rapinoe’s significant impact on women’s football and society, in general, has been instrumental in paving the way for women’s standing in society. Wiegman expressed her admiration for Rapinoe and her legacy, stating that she considers her to be one of the most pivotal players in the sport.
The Road Ahead
As the Lionesses continue their campaign in the Women’s Nations League, they remain one of the favorites. However, Wiegman and her team are not getting carried away with this tag. They understand that there are stern tests ahead, and they are preparing to face them head-on. With Wiegman at the helm, the Lionesses are confident, improving, and ready to take on the challenges that lie ahead.
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