SYDNEY (Reuters) – “In Sarina we trust” has become a mantra back in England among fans and pundits, and coach Sarina Wiegman hopes to repay the faith by guiding the Lionesses to victory against Spain in their first ever Women’s World Cup final on Sunday.
Wiegman has transformed England since taking over in 2021 and led them to European Championship success on home soil last year. They are now on the brink of a first world title after beating co-hosts Australia 3-1 in the semi-final.
The 53-year-old Dutch coach said England were “desperate” to end their long wait for glory before last year’s Euro success, which was the country’s first major triumph since the 1966 men’s World Cup final.
“I don’t hear the noise that much but I know it’s there. When we started working in September 2021, I felt that the country was so desperate to win a final tournament,” Wiegman said.
“Everyone was saying it, the players too. And I thought, ‘Oh, it’s very real’… I heard again about 1966, and we’ll talk about 1966. So let’s be at our best on Sunday and try to be successful.”
Wiegman led the Netherlands to their first major title at Euro 2017 and then to the World Cup final two years later. She became the first coach to take two different teams to a World Cup final after England beat Australia on Wednesday.
“In top sports, everyone wants to make a final but there’s not many that do. When you make four, that’s very special,” Wiegman said. “But then I switch to what we have to do, because when you go to a final, you want to win it.
“I’m so proud of the team. It has been really impressive how the team has responded to every challenge we got and that shows so much resilience, but also eagerness and conviction. On Sunday, we expect challenges again.
“We are in a very, very good place. We’ve grown into this tournament and the players feel very comfortable, they feel confident. We’re really ready to go.”
(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Hyderabad; Editing by Toby Davis)
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