Lionesses manager Sarina Wiegman has said England’s players are hoping to play their “best game ever” in the World Cup final on Sunday – with the team feeling buoyed by the “incredible” support they have received.
The England boss was speaking at a news conference alongside captain Millie Bright, who said the fact the players have a good relationship with their manager off the pitch helps with their performance in matches.
The Lionesses take on Spain in the Women’s World Cup final in Sydney on Sunday.
The England women’s team have the opportunity to lift the game’s most coveted prize for the first time.
It will also end a near-60-year wait for England to experience World Cup glory – with the men’s team not having won since 1966.
Wiegman has refused to reveal whether Lauren James will return to the starting line-up following the end of her two-match ban.
James had been one of the stand-out performers of the tournament before she was sent off for standing on her Nigerian opponent Michelle Alozie during a round-of-16 tie.
Wiegman said: “Of course she kept training and it’s really nice to have 23 players available for tomorrow.”
Speaking about the support the Lionesses have received during the tournament in Australia, the former Netherlands boss said: “It’s incredible what happened.
“We felt the support, we felt the support here, but also from the other side of the world in the UK. That’s something that we dream of.
“We hope that we play our best game ever tomorrow, and we hope that everyone watching in the stadium, in the UK… is going to enjoy it.”
She added: “I feel privileged. I’m very happy in the place where I am now. There’s a lot of support, we have everything we need to perform at the highest level. It is a pleasure to work with these incredible people.”
Wiegman, who is from the Netherlands, took over as England manager in September 2021 and led the team to Euro 2022 glory on home soil last summer.
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Asked about whether the bond between the players and Wiegman had grown, she said: “The longer you work together the better the connection. The better you can be off the pitch, the better the conversation can be, and then we can translate that to the squad.
“As much as people don’t want to face challenges, it’s part of the game, it’s part of life, and without those challenges we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
Written by: Newsroom