Sarina Wiegman thankful for ‘dream’ support as World Cup final set to unite country

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England manager Sarina Wiegman said the Lionesses will feel the support of the country back home and urged her players to play their “best game ever” when they face Spain in the World Cup final in Sydney tomorrow.

The nation is set to come to a stop on Sunday morning as the Lionesses feature in England’s first World Cup final since 1966 and Wiegman said reaction to their historic success at the tournament has been a “dream”.

Wiegman led England to their groundbreaking victory at the European Championships last summer and said her players are determined to create another moment that will inspire lasting change for women’s football while uniting the nation.

“It’s really exciting to play the game tomorrow and we are eager to win it,” Wiegman said in her pre-match press conference at Stadium Australia. “It shows how football unites. It brings people together.

“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 you dream of and we hope we play our best game ever tomorrow.”

Wiegman’s team have faced several challenges throughout their historic run to the World Cup final, after losing key players Leah Williamson, Beth Mead and Fran Kirby before the tournament.

Lauren James was sent off in England’s last-16 victory against Nigeria but will be available for the final after serving a two-match suspension, with Wiegman admitting the forward learned a “hard lesson” after stamping on an opponent.

Wiegman said James is “ready to play again”, although the 21-year-old is likely to only start on the bench following Ella Toone’s impressive performance against Australia in the semi-finals.

When asked to sum up England’s run to the World Cup final, Wiegman said her players have shown “togetherness” and” resilience”.”

“The team has inspired the nation so much last year but also at the World Cup also on this stage,” Wiegman said .

“Hopefully it will inspire more girls to play football, not just in England but around the world.”

England captain Millie Bright and manager Sarina Wiegman

(Getty Images)

England captain Millie Bright said the Lionesses will face the “game of their lives” when they walk out for the World Cup final.

Bright said: “I think for us we live in the moment, and yes it’s a World Cup final, but for us our mentality is it’s another game.

“I think our preparations don’t change no matter the stage in the tournament and to me that’s the key part of preparation.

“I want our players to prepare in any way they need to, like they normally do, and we’ve got a game plan that we have to go out and execute, but I think everyone knows how big this is.

“I think it’s been players’ dreams for years.

“We know how passionate our nation is back home and how much they want us to win. But for us, there is a process. We have a game plan to execute. We need to play the game of our lives.”


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