England manager Sarina Wiegman hailed the impact her team’s historic Euro 2022 victory has made on women and society while revealing she dedicated the win to her late sister who passed away before the tournament.
Wiegman’s team ended 56 years of hurt by defeating Germany 2-1 after extra time in front of over 87,000 fans at Wembley, a record crowd for any match at the European Championships, becoming the first England manager since Sir Alf Ramsey in 1966 to win a major international tournament.
The Dutchwoman was only appointed as England manager 10 months ago but has now won successive Euros after leading the Netherlands to glory five years ago.
Wiegman also revealed that the wristband she kissed at full-time was in dedication to her late sister, who passed away in June. Wiegman was forced to miss part of England’s training camp due what the FA said at the time was a “close family bereavement”.
“She would have been here,” Wiegman said. “She would have been really proud of me and I would have been proud of her too.”
The England manager’s post-match press conference was also interrupted by the players crashing into the room and singing ‘It’s Coming Home’.
The players were singing and dancing around the top table, while goalkeeper Mary Earps even climbed on top of the table to continue dancing as the celebrations looked set to continue late into the evening.
‘It’s coming home’: England team crash Sarina Wiegman’s press conference
And Wiegman admitted said the scale of her team’s achievement will also take a few days to sink in.
“The world around us will be changed,” Wiegman said. “ It’s positive but we have to be aware of it too. But we’ve changed society. That’s what we want. It’s so much more than football. We want to win, but through football you can make little changes in society and that’s what we hoped for.
“This has done so much for the game and for women and society. In England, but also across the world. It’s so nice to see how enthusiastic everyone was, inside and outside the stadium.”
Wiegman also paid tribute to the “trailblazers” who had paved the way for England to make history at Wembley, saluting those who rebuilt the sport following the ban on women’s football that was only lifted in 1971.
“We are here because of them,” Wiegman added. “We should always remember the players who came before us. We know the world has changed now, but you have to always remember where you have come from.”
The coach conceded that expectations were tremendously high for England heading into the tournament, having not tasted success in either men’s or women’s football since the 1966 men’s World Cup final.
But she would not be drawn on whether they could now push on to challenge for the World Cup title in Australia and New Zealand next year, insisting now was the time to let their hair down.
“So, now we won the Euros now the expectations will go through the roof again! First, we’ve got to party,” she smiled. “We are really proud of ourselves and how we accomplished it. We have all seen the development of this game has gone so fast that many countries could win this tournament.
“It’s not easy to win this tournament. And that’s going to be the same at the World Cup next year… But now it’s time to party and then we will have some time off, then we’re going to prepare for the World Cup qualification and then the World Cup and hopefully we’ll do well.”