England Women head coach Sarina Wiegman has tested positive for Covid-19 and will not be on the bench for the Lionesses’ final Euro 2022 group stage game against Northern Ireland at St Mary’s on Friday night.
Wiegman will undertake a period of recovery at the squad’s base camp.
Assistant coach Arjan Veurink will lead the team for tonight’s fixture against Northern Ireland. Wiegman will remain in remote contact with the players and technical staff and will be monitored regularly with a view to returning to all elements of her role as soon as possible.
A record-breaking 8-0 victory over Norway on Monday confirmed England’s place in the knockout stages and Wiegman will be keen to be back on the touchline.
Wiegman said rotation is unlikely as England face British rivals Northern Ireland in their final Group A match at Euro 2022, while Kenny Shiels wants his side to leave the tournament on a ‘feel-good note’.
Euro debutants Northern Ireland, who cannot qualify for the quarter-finals, have lost all eight of their previous meetings with the Lionesses, being outscored 44-2 in the process.
England well-versed without Wiegman
Sky Sports News reporter Anton Toloui:
“It’s far from ideal – and don’t forget England have a huge quarter-final against the runners-up of Group B on Wednesday – just five days away. Wiegman will be desperate to be fully involved in that game.
“Sarina took the team meeting this morning remotely and she is already in isolation – so she has been in constant communication. She will also be in close contact with the technical team on the bench this evening and she is feeling OK. But she will be forced to miss the game due to that positive test.
“Wiegman missed one of the warm-up games before the tournament due to a family bereavement so England already have a system in place and know how to operate remotely without Wiegman on the sidelines.”
Wiegman: Rotation unlikely
There has been discussion ahead of Friday’s game at St Mary’s over whether Wiegman will take the chance to play some of the other players in his squad, with England’s path to the knockout rounds already secured.
When asked about the possibility at her press conference, she said: “I believe in rhythm – when you have nine days in between the Norway game and the quarter-finals, it’s too long.
“You need more rhythm. I don’t expect lots of rotation. During the game probably, but not before the start.
“I understand [that players want to play]. We have 23 players and only 11 can start. We’ll do what we believe in, in terms of giving us the best chance to win the next game.
“Of course, some players will be disappointed. But we keep communicating, we keep being clear on what we’re doing and why we do it. Sometimes you can be disappointed, that’s understandable. If you wouldn’t be eager to play, then the player would not be in the squad.
“It [players getting injured] is always the case, always things can happen at the level we play. We just want to play a good game.
“If we are focused, concentrated, we will probably be a lot in possession and keep the ball going and be composed. That’s what we have to do and play the game.
“At this level, you always look for the edge and things can happen. We don’t hope that, but the priority is to keep rhythm, stay connected, communicate on and off the pitch, play a good game and then get ready for the next one.”
It will be the third time Wiegman has faced Northern Ireland in her short time with England, but she has been impressed by how they have acquitted themselves at Euro 2022.
She added: “We’ve played them twice already last season. I think for them, it’s really good that they have had their first tournament. For the development of players, you need tournaments to become better and know what to expect next time.
“We can see they’re trying to develop their style of play and I’m absolutely sure they will try and have a competitive game tomorrow and make best out of it. That’s what we want to do too.
“I don’t know how many Northern Ireland people will be here. It will be full and what we want to do is play a good game, win, keep a clean sheet and that we give the people that are here a very nice evening .”
Keep up with all the latest from Euro 2022 across Sky Sports and Sky Sports News this summer.
Coverage will be anchored by Sky Sports WSL presenting Caroline Barker, alongside Jessica Creighton and Kyle Walker. Meanwhile, Karen Carney, Sue Smith, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and Laura Bassett will give analysis throughout the tournament.
They will also be joined by experienced England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley and Manchester City defender Esme Morgan.
The pundits and presenters will work from the Sky Sports Women’s Euro 2022 Mobile Presentation Bus, which will follow the Sky Sports News team around the country to the various stadiums where matches are being played.
In addition, Sky Sports’ Essential Football Podcast will be rebranded for the tournament to Sky Sports Women’s Euros Podcast from 21 June. Hosted by Charlotte Marsh and Anton Toloui, it will feature exclusive news and player interviews in addition to a strong program line-up around the tournament.
Group A: England, Austria, Norway, Northern Ireland
Group B: Germany, Denmark, Spain, Finland
Group C: Netherlands, Sweden, Portugal, Switzerland
Group D: France, Italy, Belgium, Iceland
Wednesday July 6
Group A: England 1-0 Austria
Thursday July 7
Group A: Norway 4-1 Northern Ireland
Friday July 8
Group B: Spain 4-1 Finland
Group B: Germany 4-0 Denmark
Saturday July 9
Group C: Portugal 2-2 Switzerland
Group C: Netherlands 1-1 Sweden
Sunday July 10
Group D: Belgium 1-1 Iceland
Group D: France 5-1 Italy
Monday July 11
Group A: Austria 2-0 Northern Ireland
Tuesday July 12
Group B: Denmark 1-0 Finland
Group B: Germany 2-0 Spain
Wednesday July 13
Group C: Sweden 2-1 Switzerland
Group C: Netherlands 3-2 Portugal
Thursday July 14
Group D: Italy 1-1 Iceland
Group D: France 2-1 Belgium
Friday July 15
Group A: Northern Ireland v England – kick-off 8pm, St Mary’s
Group A: Austria vs Norway – kick-off 8pm, Brighton and Hove Community Stadium
Saturday July 16
Group B: Finland vs Germany – kick-off 8pm, Stadium MK
Group B: Denmark v Spain – kick-off 8pm, London Community Stadium
Sunday July 17
Group C: Switzerland vs Netherlands – kick-off 5pm, Bramall Lane
Group C: Sweden v Portugal – kick-off 5pm, Leigh Sports Village
Monday July 18
Group D: Iceland vs France – kick-off 8pm, New York Stadium
Group D: Italy vs Belgium – kick-off 8pm, Manchester City Academy Stadium
Wednesday July 20
Quarter-final 1: Winners Group A v Runners-up Group B – kick-off 8pm, Brighton and Hove Community Stadium
Thursday July 21
Quarter-final 2: Winners Group B v Runners-up Group A – kick-off 8pm, London Community Stadium
Friday July 22
Quarter-final 3: Winners Group C v Runners-up Group D – kick-off 8pm, Leigh Sports Village
Quarter-final 4: Winners Group D v Runners-up Group C – kick-off 8pm, New York Stadium
Tuesday July 26
Semi-final 1: Winners quarter-final 1 v Winners quarter-final 3 – kick-off 8pm, Bramall Lane
Wednesday July 27
Semi-final 2: Winners quarter-final 2 v Winners quarter-final 4 – kick-off 8pm, Stadium MK
Sunday July 31
Winners semi-final 1 v Winners semi-final 2 – 5pm kick-off, Wembley