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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

England boss Wiegman relishing strange but special Netherlands return

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England coach Sarina Wiegman said there will be no divided loyalties for her in Utrecht on Tuesday when the Lionesses face her native Netherlands in the Women’s Nations League.

Wiegman played for the Dutch national team before leading them to Euro 2017 glory on home soil and a runner-up finish at the 2019 World Cup in France.

The 53-year-old, who led England to victory at the Euros in 2022 and second place at the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, is back in the Netherlands with England for the first time since her appointment in August 2020.

“It’s very nice. It’s a little bit strange too,” Wiegman told reporters on Monday. “I have some memories here. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.

“Of course we know each other really well, I know the staff – most of the staff didn’t change that much – and the players … It’s just very special to be here.”

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England beat Scotland 2-1 in their first Nations League match on Friday in Sunderland. They are on three points in their four-team group, level with Belgium, who beat the Netherlands 2-1.

“If we are not playing the Netherlands, then of course I want them to do well, but tomorrow we are playing against them and we want to win the game,” Wiegman added.

“I can turn that off – I have to, it’s my job. I want the Netherlands to have the best – but we want to be first in the league.”

-Reuters

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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