Sarina Wiegman says England can be 'very proud of ourselves'

Sarina Wiegman says England can be ‘very proud’ and have ‘no regrets’ after devastating World Cup final loss to Spain – but admits their decisions on the day ‘didn’t work’ and opponents ‘were a little better’

  • Sarina Wiegman admitted that England were second-best against Spain 
  • However, she added that the Lionesses could be very proud of themselves 
  • Olga Carmona’s first-half goal was the difference between the sides in the end 

Sarina Wiegman said England can walk away proud despite their World Cup dream fading at the hands of Spain – but admitted they were second-best. 

She added that they would harbour no regrets even if some of the decisions they made on the day did not pay off. 

Olga Carmona’s first-half strike split the hairs in a close-fought contest between two of the best teams around, with both in their first World Cup final. 

‘Most of all [I feel] disappointment, because when you play a final you want to win it. So yes that’s mainly how I feel, but I think maybe in the end Spain played a little better than we did,’ Wiegman told ITV. 

‘I think we gave our everything. In the first half we couldn’t get pressing so we went to 4-3-3 in the second half when we were building momentum, but they continued to be a threat and the momentum came out of the game.

Sarina Wiegman admitted that England were second-best but said that they were proud of themselves all the same 

She had lost her second World Cup final after falling at the last hurdle with the Netherlands in 2019 against the USA

She said she had no regrets. ‘No. The players gave everything. I have to give congratulations to Spain, they played the best football across the tournament.

‘Absolutely [we have pride]. The way we took every challenge, we have done great. No credits. You give everything and try and make the right choices, sometimes it works and today it didn’t.’

Wiegman had a gigantic selection call to make ahead of the game, from which eternal ‘what ifs’ will be drawn.

Lauren James, the star of earlier in the tournament, was available for selection again after sitting out with a two-match ban due to a red card against Nigeria – but Wiegman opted for Ella Toone, who scored in the semi-finals against Australia. 

At half-time, England’s manager subbed on James as well as Chloe Kelly in place of Alessia Russo and Rachel Daly, switching from a 3-4-1-2 to a 4-3-3. 

While their performance improved in the second half, it wasn’t enough for England to overcome their deficit from the first period. 

Wiegman made the call to leave Lauren James out initially but brought her on at half-time 

Wiegman told the BBC: ‘What I think we have done, how we have shown ourselves, who we are, how we want to play as a team, overcoming so many challenges. 

‘I think we can be very proud of ourselves, only it doesn’t feel that way at the moment. 

She opened up on her emotions but retained a sense of perspective. ‘It feels really bad now, very, very disappointing.

‘You go to the final and you want to give everything, you want to win the final and then you lose it – that happens in sports.’

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