Sarina Wiegman issues Women’s World Cup warning - "We're going there to win"

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Sarina Wiegman led the Lionesses to their first-ever major tournament triumph, with eyes set on next summer
Sarina Wiegman led the Lionesses to their first-ever major tournament triumph, with eyes set on next summer's World Cup. (Image: PA)

Sarina Wiegman has delivered a stark warning to international women’s football heavyweights as next summer’s Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand sits just months away.

The Dutch coach led the Lionesses to their first-ever major tournament victory as they emphatically defeated Germany in the Euro2022 final in a sold-out Wembley. The triumph has since ignited a hunger for women’s football in the United Kingdom, with record crowds broken and reset almost on loop.

But it is the ruthless routine in which the Lionesses continue to dispatch their opponents that has taken the country by storm. Under Wiegman, the Lionesses boast a 26-match unbeaten run. And with next year’s World Cup inching ever closer, Wiegman did not play coy in her approach to the showpiece event.

"That [pride is] how I approach it,” she told the Guardian. “Don't always think of the result. We're not going to a World Cup just to play, we're going there to win."

Her comment came amid response to the England men’s national team’s World Cup quarter-final exit to France. Wiegman believes Gareth Southgate’s side should take immense pride in their performance, adding that the team left nothing unaccounted for.

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"If you play your best game, like the England men did against France, [it could] be a win, could be a tie, could be a defeat," she said.

"But you can be proud of yourself because you played at your highest level. You're going to be devastated by not winning, but at the end you can be proud because you did everything that's in your control."

Sarina Wiegman issues Women’s World Cup warning - "We're going there to win"Sarina Wiegman, manager of England, inspects the pitch prior to the International Friendly match against the Czech Republic (Photo by Naomi Baker - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

Wiegman is all too familiar with the agony of World Cup disappointment, especially when touted as a favourite to lift the trophy. In 2019, her Netherlands side fell to a World Cup finale defeat to the USA, courtesy of second-half goals from Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle.

The devastating loss has only fuelled Wiegman’s anticipation for next summer, with England heavy favourites for the trophy, particularly after putting the reigning world champions USA to the sword in the summer at Wembley.

Euro2022 player of the tournament and Golden Boot winner Beth Mead suffered an ACL injury in late November, forcing the England star into a race against time for fitness heading into next July. Elsewhere, Alex Greenwood’s three-year extension with Manchester City represents a major boon for England’s ranks.

The Lionesses return to action in February with the Arnold Clark Cup, joined by Belgium, Italy and South Korea.

NEW! Our Year: European Champions 2022 - The Official England Winners Book

With a foreword by England manager Sarina Wiegman, this is the only official book of the historic triumph, reliving every kick of a thrilling tournament and telling the stories of the players who made it all happen.

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Megan Feringa

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