Soccer

Sarina Wiegman hails ‘many positives’ of England’s double-header in Spain

Four days on from the 7-2 defeat of Austria at the Estadio Nuevo Mirador in Algeciras, the Lionesses eased to a 5-1 success over Italy.

Sarina Wiegman’s England beat Italy 5-1 four days on from a 7-2 victory over Austria
England manager Sarina Wiegman (Mike Egerton/PA) Sarina Wiegman’s England beat Italy 5-1 four days on from a 7-2 victory over Austria (Mike Egerton/PA)

Sarina Wiegman said England’s trip had yielded “many positives” after the team concluded their double-header of friendlies in southern Spain with a 5-1 win over Italy.

Four days on from the 7-2 defeat of Austria at the Estadio Nuevo Mirador in Algeciras, another thumping victory for the Lionesses at the same venue began with Lotte Wubben-Moy heading her first international goal in the opening minute.

Lauren Hemp extended the lead with a brace, the second via an excellent header, and after Michela Cambiaghi pulled a goal back for Italy in stoppage time at the end of the first half, substitutes Ella Toone and Rachel Daly completed the rout in the second half.

Boss Wiegman told ITV: “I think the whole camp, a lot of things pleased me.

“I think we had the opportunity to play many players…see what the level was, that was exactly what we wanted, see players in some positions and the connections between players, and then the competition.

“And when you have then such good wins as we had tonight and last Friday, that’s really nice too of course.”

Next up for England are the opening Euro 2025 qualifiers in April as Wiegman’s side begin the journey of defending the title they won on home soil in 2022.

When asked if the camp had given her the answers she needed ahead of the matches in April, Wiegman said: “You never know, because things in football can change so quickly, but it gave us many answers on questions we had at this moment.

“We could take this opportunity to see so many players and play two very good games, train also, see the under-23s (who joined the senior team on the trip). So just very many positives about this week.”

Those positives for Wiegman – who saw Leah Williamson withdraw from her original squad due to injury and Fran Kirby do so between the two matches – included debuts being made by 20-year-old Grace Clinton, a goalscorer in the Austria match, and Millie Turner introduced as a substitute against Italy.

On Arsenal defender Wubben-Moy, after her 12th senior appearance for the team, Wiegman said: “I think she’s definitely taken a step forward because she’s developing a lot and very good.

“That’s what we see weekly at Arsenal and that’s what she shows here too. What you can (also) see is the competition in the position is just really high.”

Wubben-Moy heading in from an Alex Greenwood delivery was an early example as England – on a night that saw them also make some notable errors at the back – demonstrated the problems they can cause from corners.

Wiegman added: “We are always working on it. We had a little more emphasis on it, we had a little more time this week.

“So it’s really good to see that it had so much effect and hopefully we can do that again in the following games.”