England vs Sweden: Sarina Wiegman’s ruthlessness now part of Lionesses DNA, says Beth Mead ahead of semi-final

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
England vs Sweden: Sarina Wiegman’s ruthlessness now part of Lionesses DNA, says Beth Mead ahead of semi-final
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

England’s Beth Mead says head coach Sarina Wiegman has made ruthlessness “part of their DNA” as they prepare to face Sweden for a place in the final of the Women’s Euro 2022 tonight.

The Lionesses reached 100 goals in just 18 matches under Wiegman with last week’s dramatic quarter-final win over Spain, but they will have to buck a trend at Bramall Lane tonight, having failed to get beyond the final four at their last three major tournaments.

Their record against Sweden is also poor, with just one win and one draw in six Euros games, but Wiegman masterminded victories over tonight’s opponents in Euro 2017 and the 2019 World Cup as Netherlands boss.

“I think [ruthlessness] is something Sarina’s instilled in us as a collective,” said Mead, who is the tournament’s top scorer with five goals and on course for the Golden Boot.

“We know we’ve got a lot of quality players. In September, when we played our first game under Sarina, we missed a lot of chances.

“Now we’re taking those chances. If you look at our shots-to-goal ratio this tournament, it’s a lot higher than it has been. We’re creating chances and scoring them.

“Sarina has instilled that in all of us and it’s now become part of the England DNA.”

Wiegman’s substitutions and tactical tweaks, including moving defender Millie Bright up front, changed the game as England came from behind to beat Spain after extra-time.

“She’s one of the best coaches I’ve worked under tactically,” added Mead. “As a team we’ve worked on all scenarios, good and bad. Credit to Sarina, she’s instilled them into us again, so that we’re aware of [changes] when things happen. We spoke after the Spain game [about] what she made happen.

“People got on with it and you wouldn’t know there’d been a change [of formation]. As a team, it’s something we’ve worked on. Football’s not always straightforward, you need a Plan B and Plan C. Sarina has plenty of plans.”

Beth Mead and Millie Bright celebrate victory over Spain in the last eight (Getty Images)
Beth Mead and Millie Bright celebrate victory over Spain in the last eight (Getty Images)

Wiegman, who has a fully fit squad against the world No2-ranked side, believes England are more confident and resilient than when she took charge, and says they are aiming to inspire the nation tonight.

“I have seen only a good mentality since I came in last September,” she said. “The resilience has been really good. The confidence in the team has grown and that has also grown over the past year. We’re just really accountable to each other.

“The team is ready to play the best game against Sweden and hopefully we will inspire the nation. Reaching the semi-final has been really great already and we saw that we brought a lot of inspiration.

“But I think our fans gave us a lot of inspiration, too. We are only focused on the game and we hope we get the result we want. I hope [the fans] are going to bring us lots of energy again.”

Centre-half Bright is one of a number of players who played in England’s defeat to the USA in the World Cup semi-final three years ago and insists the squad has learned the lessons of previous setbacks.

“We’ve learned a lot from the previous semi-finals, but they have to be parked to one side,” she said. “We’re on a new journey and we’re in a different place as a team.”

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting