Covid-hit Sarina Wiegman ‘very hopeful’ of making England’s Euros quarter-final

The Dutchwoman has been watching training from a distance with a mask on

By Press Association Published: 19 July 2022 - 1.45pm

England boss Sarina Wiegman has said she is “very hopeful” as she waits to see if she can attend Wednesday’s Euro 2022 quarter-final against Spain after testing positive for coronavirus last week.

The Dutchwoman, absent from Friday’s 5-0 group-stage victory over Northern Ireland at St Mary’s following the positive test, with assistant Arjan Veurink taking the lead from the dugout, has been watching training from a distance with a mask on.

And she told a press conference on Tuesday ahead of the last-eight match at the Amex Stadium: “I’m good, I’m feeling well. I’m actually ready to go, but still have to wait.

“It's not the worst nightmare, just a situation we have to deal with. I'm around and still doing my job.”
- Sarina Wiegman

“Of course I’m very hopeful but we’ll see what happens, and we do know if I can’t be there I’ll be around in another way.

“We had a line so I was in contact with the technical staff all the time during (Friday’s) game, watching it of course from here (at the team’s south-west London base). So we stayed connected all the time. If necessary, that is what we will do (on Wednesday) again.”

Wiegman said her symptoms had been “a little temperature and a little coughing, but not too bad” and added: “It’s not the worst nightmare, just a situation we have to deal with. I’m around and still doing my job. I’m just doing things virtually or outside from a big distance with the mask.

“I’ve been involved in all of the training, I just make sure I don’t get close to people. But you can always observe real closely and sometimes give a message.”

The Football Association earlier announced goalkeeper Hannah Hampton had tested positive for the virus – the second player in the squad to do so during the campaign, after defender Lotte Wubben-Moy.

Wiegman – who confirmed every player aside from Hampton was available for Wednesday, and has named the same starting line-up for each match so far – said: “We’re really aware and very careful. We’re trying to stay in our bubble and do the right things, and hopefully we keep everyone fit.

“We did some more strict measures, and everyone understands. We’re just trying to make the bubble more tight. If people come in, they have to test before. Of course everyone has to take responsibility too, so anyone who doesn’t feel well needs to tell, because we really want to stop getting positives.

“What we have to do is stay calm with the ones who can play and continue what we are doing.”

After Friday’s match, which followed Group A winners England beating Austria 1-0 and Norway 8-0, Northern Ireland boss Kenny Shiels said it would be a “massive failure” if the hosts did not win the tournament.

England v Norway – UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 – Group A – Brighton & Hove Community Stadium
England boast a 100 per cent record from the group stage, including an 8-0 rout of Norway (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Asked about that, Wiegman said: “We know our plan, we know our strengths, we know our opponents very well. We also know that there’s more favourites.

“We did well in the group stage but don’t have anything yet, and we just focus on the next game. Spain are a very good team, we are too, and we just want to play the best game we can and hopefully that will bring us the win.”

Spain, ranked a place above England at seventh in the world, lost star names Alexia Putellas and Jennifer Hermoso to injury just prior to the Euros. They went on to finish as Group B runners-up, beating Finland 4-1, losing 2-0 to Germany and then winning 1-0 against Denmark.

Wiegman said: “Of course they miss two key players. I still think they have a very good team and they are very tight on the ball. But we’ve also seen in the last games that they have some vulnerabilities.

“They’ll probably have the ball a lot, I hope we do too. I’m pretty excited to see what it’s going to look like (on Wednesday evening).”

Regarding the heatwave England have been training in, Wiegman said: “We just trained a little earlier than we normally do, and do things like using cold (jackets).

“(On Tuesday morning) there was a little bit of wind, so that was nice, and we water the pitch a lot. We did well, and (on Wedesday) it’s going to be really cold, around 24C! So that will be fine.”

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