Wiegman’s own experiences in leading a host nation to success in tournaments is self-evident, having steered her homeland the Netherlands to victory at Euro 2017, as well as a runner-up spot at the World Cup two years later.
But the 52-year-old concedes that the situation with England differs to the Dutch experience five years ago and has already described how the challenge with the Lionesses is not to win the backing of home supporters, but to teach the players how to win tournament football.
“There is a different stage; with the Netherlands, we weren’t visible yet,” she said. “We had been at tournaments two times, and from 2009 we were at the Euros for the first time.
“England has a much more rich history in tournaments. So England was at a different stage and I think we already have won over the country; yes we can still win lots of fans but the expectations here are higher than they were in 2017 in the Netherlands.
“So we want to make the nation proud and that comes with winning games. But behind winning games, you play the best game you can to make the chance of winning.
“Then you come into the process and that’s what we’re working on. So how do we get control? How do we prepare the best we can? On pitch, off pitch. What can we expect on pitch, off pitch? And just prepare for everything so we can adapt in every situation, hopefully.”
In the meantime, with interest and enthusiasm for the Lionesses’ Euros bid gaining momentum, Wiegman hopes that the experiences she gained in establishing the Netherlands as a world power will help her – and her players – cope with the heightened pressure of being a tournament favourite.
“I’ve experienced expectation,” said Wiegman. “So, from the Euros to the World Cup with the Netherlands, the expectations were really high.
“So, I’ve experienced both now, and also the Olympics, so I know the expectations are high here. But that’s the stage England football is at.
“So, we want to win too and we think we have a very good team so we just really have to work, do our utmost to be prepared as well as possible and play the best game we can from July 6 to July 31 and then prepare from game to game.
“Before the tournament we manage the expectation on and off the pitch. And then we have a team plan; talk to each other, keep communicating with each other. We know what our plan is and keep it small within the team.
“The environment we are in now, there are so many good teams, so when we play the best game we can, the chance of winning is high. But it could happen that another team is really good to on the field and we don’t win.
“Well then, you would be really, really disappointed but you can still be proud of yourself because we did everything and I think when we play the best game we can then the chances of winning are pretty high.”
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