Sarina Wiegman: England’s ‘one of a kind’ supercoach
Lionesses boss could be in line for a new contract after masterminding Euro triumph
In the aftermath of last night’s Uefa Women’s Euros final, England head coach Sarina Wiegman was quietly speaking with the world’s media about her team’s dramatic 2-1 win over Germany. Sat in the press room at Wembley Stadium, Wiegman and the England staff would have been hoping for some relative calm after the extra-time triumph. Not a chance. Gatecrashed by some very happy Lionesses, this was “just your standard Sarina Wiegman press conference”, said Sky Sports.
As Wiegman “attempted to dissect the win to the press”, she was “suddenly ambushed” by the England players, who proceeded to launch into a rendition of Football’s Coming Home, said Olly Roberts on GiveMeSport. There was “absolute mayhem”, as Lucy Bronze and Mary Earps danced on the table and the rest of the Lionesses “paraded around the room”.
The joyous scenes on the pitch, in the dressing room and in the press conference proved how big a moment this was for women’s football in the country. And leading the charge for England is a Dutchwoman from The Hague.
Perfect record at the Euros
An “inscrutable” former PE teacher with the “most impressive CV” in women’s football management, Wiegman is a “supercoach” who has transformed the England team from “serial semi-final bottlers” into “steely-eyed winners”, said Dave Kidd in The Sun. Now unbeaten in 20 games since taking charge last September, she has “moulded England into an impressively ruthless outfit”.
After winning the Euros with her native Netherlands in 2017, the 52-year-old has become the first coach to win consecutive championship titles with two different countries, said Jamie Spencer on 90min.com. She boasts a “perfect record” of 12 wins from 12 games at the Euros – six with the Netherlands in 2017 and now six with England this summer. Her time with the Lionesses has been “nothing short of incredible”. She has quickly put her stamp on an “already talented squad that had started to underachieve in the years since 2019”.
She may be a “tough taskmaster”, whose “eyes can spit fire”, but the “laser-focused” coach gets results with her “bold” changes to the team during a match, said Adam Shergold in the Daily Mail. Never afraid of “making big calls”, the “character” and fighting spirit instilled in the team by Wiegman has come “to the fore”.
A ‘bumper’ new contract?
The “mastermind” behind England’s success, Wiegman will be in “high demand” ahead of next year’s Fifa Women’s World Cup, said Jeremy Cross in the Daily Star. Wary that she could be “lured away” at some stage, the English Football Association is expected to open contract talks “in a bid to secure her long-term future”. Wiegman will “pocket a £200,000 bonus” for winning Euro 2022, said Ben Willcocks in the Daily Mail. Despite having two years left on her current £400,000-a-year deal, she is also “in line for a bumper new contract”.
England defender Rachel Daly believes Wiegman should be recognised as one of Europe’s best coaches – in women’s or men’s football. “She’s incredible,” the full-back said. “She’ll never take any credit but you can see how she influences us. She’s a calming presence on the bench, on the sidelines, in the changing rooms, in training. She’s one of a kind and we’re so lucky to have her.”
There’s no doubting Wiegman’s impact on the women’s team in England. But for the supercoach herself, she believes the performances of her players will contribute much wider than just sport. “This tournament has done so much for the game but also for women in society,” she said. “I don’t think we’ve really realised what we’ve done. Over the whole tournament we’ve had so much support from our fans. We did an incredible job and I’m so proud of my team.” At the end of her press conference, Wiegman had the final say with three words: “We changed society.”