Who is Sarina Wiegman? The Dutch coach who has changed the Lionesses' fortunes

Credit: PA

Having captured the hearts and minds of the nation, 'football's coming home' chants reverberated around Wembley as the Lionesses made history at the Euros final.

England went into the final off the back of a 19-game unbeaten run, with the country starved of senior international footballing glory since 1966.

The team's meteoric rise was never guaranteed, even with additional cash being pumped into the women's game.

Enter Sarina Wiegman - the Dutch coach who guided Holland to continental success back in 2017, and the World Cup final in 2019.

With a reputation for entertaining football and getting the job done, her appointment back in 2020 wasn't without risks from both sides.

Expectations following her appointment were immediately sky-high. And, with only 10 months to implement her style of play ahead of the European Championship in front of home crowds, the decision proved to be the correct one.

Leah Williamson and Ellen White celebrate as they won the Women Euro 2022 semi final match between England and Sweden. Credit: AP

Unlike the previous coach, Phil Neville - who played for Manchester United and England but possessed little coaching experience - Wiegman was not necessarily a headline-grabbing appointment for the casual fan but, crucially, had expertise of the women’s game.

“I’ve come here to take (England) to the next level,” Wiegman said at her presentation last year, and she’s been true to her word.

What has changed in the past two years?

Adaptability to start. While playing under Phil Neville, the side built up play from the back. But his tactics had a sense of predictability which left the side on the back foot when playing against teams who could break them down.

Wiegman also advocates playing out from the back, but with a new attitude of going direct to opposing players when needed.

Ellen White celebrates after the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 semi-final match. Credit: PA

A shining example would be England's most recent win over Germany back in February, when centre back Millie Bright played up front in the game's closing minutes and scored the deciding goal.

And at the Euros this philosophy has shone through even more. It showed when England started dominating Austria but were slow to extend their advantage.

Rather than defend a 1-0 lead secured by Beth Mead, the team pushed on and added a new attacking trio up front, leaving Austria on the back foot for the rest of the game.

The performance encapsulated England's time at the Euros, when a team wouldn't play ball, the Lionesses forced them to while clutching a plethora of goals in the process.

Beth Mead has been a standout star at the tournament. Credit: PA

It placed them as the team to beat, having written themselves into final of Euro 2022 after a stunning 4-0 demolition of Sweden on Tuesday.

Solid command of squad and direct player-to-player management

A common theme among the team is the crucial player-to-player management and direction Wiegman has provided.

Every player knows their role and exactly how to excel in it.

Former Dutch players Kimberlay Vermey and Sarissa Van Der Meer spoke about how driven their former manager is to succeed

A player who has flourished since she took the reigns is Beth Mead. Having been previously been dropped from the squad, she went on to score six times in the Euros, breaking the record for the most goals in a women's international season.


Investment in the women’s game in England has soared to record levels in recent years.

A game-changer is sponsorship of the top two leagues, the Women’s Super League and the Women’s Championship, with £30 million getting injected for 2022-25.

It’s the most that has ever been invested in women’s sport in Britain, according to the Football Association. That compared with £15 million under the bank's first deal with the FA from 2019-2022.

Added to that is the three-year agreement the FA reached with Sky Sports and BBC for the broadcast rights to the Super League ahead of the 2021-22 season, worth around £8 million per year.

The revenue has been distributed across the women’s game, giving clubs more money to invest in players and coaches, as well as facilities.