England women’s national team head coach Sarina Wiegman has stated that she will cut back on squad rotation and experimentation as the team focuses on the upcoming Women’s World Cup later this summer. The Lionesses, currently ranked fourth in the world, will take on Brazil on 5 October and Australia on 9 October, with both matches occurring in the UK. Wiegman will be looking to gain vital information about her players and how they cope with playing against much stronger opposition.
During the Arnold Clark Cup tournament in February, Wiegman frequently rotated the squad so that all players were given playing time. The tournament saw England come up against low-ranked South Korea, Italy and Belgium, all of which the team managed to beat. However, with the confrontations against ninth-ranked Brazil and tenth-ranked Australia looming, Wiegman will be under more pressure to select her strongest team.
The England women’s team have been gradually gaining more recognition, with attendance figures at matches climbing rapidly. The Brazil game will take place at Wembley Stadium and is currently sold out. Australia, who are co-hosting the Women’s World Cup this year, will play England at Brentford’s Community Stadium.
Wiegman’s Brazilian counterpart, Sweden’s Pia Sundhage, has praised the English coach as “the best in the world”. Wiegman, for her part, emphasised that the games against Brazil and Australia would be an opportunity to develop the team further ahead of the World Cup. She stated that team selection would be narrowed down but that she would also be monitoring the players’ fatigue levels, bearing in mind the busy schedules that many of them have. Wiegman singled out the potential challenges presented by Brazil’s attacking strength and has called upon her team to be keen and alert in defence.