Thu. Feb 22nd, 2024

England manager Sarina Weigman has described reaching the Women’s World Cup final as “living in a fairy tale” after guiding the Lionesses past Australia.

Goals from Ella Toone, Lauren Hemp and Alessia Russo saw England win 3-1 at Stadium Australia, reaching a second major final in successive summers.

Individually, it represents a fourth successive tournament final for Wiegman. She led the Netherlands to the Euro 2017 title and 2019 World Cup final, as well as last summer’s Euro 2022 victory.

Speaking after an enthralling semi-final, Wiegman told BBC Sport: “We achieved the final! It’s unbelievable, it feels like we won [the tournament] which we didn’t, we just won this game – in an incredible stadium, an away game, the way we played – it was a hard game, but we found a way to win again.

“I just said to [assistant manager] Arjan, having the chance as a coach or a player to make it to two finals is really special. I never take anything for granted, but it’s like I’m living in a fairytale or something.”

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Harry Kane sends his congratulations to the Lionesses after they beat Australia 3-1 to reach the women’s World Cup final

After a shaky start, England have grown into the tournament and put in a professional display to see off co-hosts Australia as they showed a ruthless streak that had been lacking in some previous games.

However, the Lionesses did see their defences breached by a sensational strike from Sam Kerr, who returned to the Matildas XI after much speculation following an injury.

England's goalkeeper Mary Earps and England's Rachel Daly celebrate after winning their Women's World Cup semi-final tie against Australia
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England’s goalkeeper Mary Earps and England’s Rachel Daly celebrate after the game

Wiegman added: “People have been talking about ruthlessness all the time, in this team there is ruthlessness, up front or in defence. We really want to keep the ball out of the net and we want to win.

“We stick together, we stick to the plan, and it worked again.

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Fern Whelan reacts as Alessia Russo’s strike gives England a late 3-1 lead over Australia in the semi-final of the women’s World Cup

“Australia have had an incredible tournament, they grew into the tournament. They had some setbacks, they had to win their last group-stage game and then they got better and better.

“Sam Kerr came back, we saw today why she is the star of the team, but they are really tough to play against as a team too.”

What’s next?

England will play Spain in the Women’s World Cup final on Sunday in Sydney with kick-off at 11am. Australia will face Sweden in the third-place play-off in Brisbane on Saturday with kick-off at 9am.

By Sandra Winters

Writer | Author | Wordsmith Passionate about crafting stories that captivate and inspire. Published author of [Book Title]. Dedicated to exploring the depths of human emotions and experiences through the power of words. Join me on this literary journey as we delve into the realms of imagination and uncover the beauty of storytelling.