Thanks to Wiegman, England prepares for ‘biggest moment ever in women’s sport’

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Football NOS

Four finals and three finals and no national coach can do that for her. Sarina Wegmann will play her third final tonight with England at Wembley against Germany. Another win and the 52-year-old from The Hague will bring football “home”. Winning or not, the English put Wigman on the shield, albeit with an 80-pound “power suit”.

Even before her statue on the KNVB campus, the European title and the World Cup final, Foppe de Haan experienced the successful national coach up close. During Wigmann’s tenure as an assistant in Jung Sparta, when she was the interim Women’s Orange national coach for a while, de Haan immediately noticed something.

“She’s an incredibly good listener.”

  • What makes Wigman so good, according to De Haan: ‘She listens and is exceptionally clear’

  • According to De Haan, Wiegman is even better than she was in 2017: ‘Give her wholeheartedly, cool girl’

“She is constantly consuming a lot of things: what can I learn here? I also gave her some books, they are still in her wardrobe, because I haven’t got them back yet,” laughed De Haan. “She is very attentive to the world around her and is a professional when it comes to football.”

Danny Blind character

As a six-year-old, Wegmann wears soccer shoes by herself for the first time at ESDO The Hague, with her twin brother. “In reality, girls were not allowed to play football at all,” she told Omroep West in 2020. “I cut my hair to be as unobtrusive as possible.” You still stand out when you play football.

Twelve years later, Dick Advocaat put 18-year-old Sarina on the Dutch women’s team. After a year with the University of North Carolina team and a long career in amateur club red and yellow Ter Lid, Wigman finally reached 104 caps.

“I think it’s Danny Blind’s character,” Louis van Gaal said in 2001, when he awarded Wegmann an award on the occasion of her 100th international match with Orange. “She has a lot of outlook and insight. She is a good leader.”

AP

Sarina Wegmann and Phoebe de Haan in 2017

No, Wegmann was not lacking in footballing knowledge, de Haan asserts. Not as a player, not as a sports teacher and certainly not as a coach, which I started with the ADO Den Haag women. “She really feeds into systems, which doesn’t surprise her. She knows how she wants to play and she is able to get the players to play where they feel comfortable.”

“unusually clear”

What is important is that Coach Wegmann dares to say what that means. “It’s extraordinarily clear to the players,” de Haan says. “You know where you stand. Women and men need that clarity.” In this way, all the players in the group will remain on the board, and continue to perform. “Everyone with her always gets a six or seven.”

Jill Scott, one of England’s most experienced players, knows this frankness. “It’s very clear. It doesn’t make us think too much and it makes us focus on what lies ahead. It’s the driving force behind why we are now in the final.”

English Jill Scott on Wegman: ‘She doesn’t realize how good she is’

“She doesn’t even realize how good she is,” Scott said a week before the European Championship final. “In a moment like extra time against Spain, she was very calm on the side. Because she knows what we have to do to win.”

That calm, that confidence in a good outcome, was already there five years ago.

Patience Wegman

De Haan came in the run-up to the European Championships in 2017 as the Orange Ladies’ assistant, when things weren’t going so well. But right before the tournament it made sense. “It was no accident, it was very consciously worked towards it.” Foppe saw it was good.

De Haan praises the patience Wigmann showed at that time. “Take the time to work on something. And know during the process that you can also go less, because you’re still in the research phase. That takes energy, doesn’t it, I think she did it really well.”

Two European Championships, one World Cup: The road to the final for national coach Wegmann

As an English national coach (since September 2021), Wigman’s patience has not been tested. 19 plays, 0 lost, goal difference +100. The characters who make the British press fall in love.

According to BBC journalist Lizzie Greenwood Hughes, the English are on the run with Wegman. “Whatever happened in the final, all of England took it very seriously. We love Sarina.” Not least because of her black suit: the affordable and modest “power suit” is also circulated in the British media.

huge legacy

Greenwood Hughes said: “The media hype around the England squad doesn’t seem to affect her. She knows herself, has a plan and sticks to it.” “The legacy of this team and Wigman is enormous.”

“People see this final as the greatest moment for women’s sport in English history. The girls will feel empowered by it.”

British journalist on Wegman’s success in England: The legacy is enormous

After losing the 2019 World Cup Final, it’s no surprise that De Haan is now doing well in England with Wiegman. “It was very clear that the English were really good. You can see from everything that there is talent and energy in her. And the FA put a lot into that.”

More confidence in its employees

Wegmann took Arjen Veurink as an assistant. Smart move, according to de Haan. Obviously – from a distance – Wiegman sees an improvement over what he did five years ago.

“I think she’s improved, because she works with the people around her a lot, and it gives them more space.” Sometimes that was lacking, De Haan remembers.

Reuters

Sarina Wegman with her players

“I said that to her once. She was on top of everything, checking everything right down to the decimal point. In the end, you have to believe that people can do it themselves. That’s what’s going on now, I guess.”

“She has the ability to step back and give everyone a job that they can do well. I think the staff around her are very satisfied with her too. You always have the feeling that she cares about you, and she just doesn’t have the idea: let him talk too.”

Watch the episode ‘Rivkah Handles’ with Sarina Wiegman below, in which she talks about the success of the 2019 World Cup and the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021:

Weigman looks back at the 2019 World Cup final: ‘I always thought we could reach the final’

What if she wins the European Championship final with England on Sunday, what happens next? Wise words from Foppe: “Just stay in England. Be a world champion, go to the Olympics again. There are a lot of challenges, that’s not the problem. Maybe she can play men’s football one day, to see what she can do.”

“It’s an incredible story and I wish her from the bottom of my heart. Because I really think she’s an amazing girl.”

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