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Sarina Wiegman confident England will not drop their level

Her four matches in charge so far have seen England score 32 goals and concede none in World Cup qualifying Group D.

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England head coach Sarina Wiegman is confident of another good result against Austria (Tim Goode/PA)

England head coach Sarina Wiegman is confident of another good result against Austria (Tim Goode/PA)

England head coach Sarina Wiegman is confident of another good result against Austria (Tim Goode/PA)

England head coach Sarina Wiegman is confident her players will not rest on their laurels as they aim to build on a phenomenal start to their World Cup qualifying campaign.

The Lionesses had lost seven of their last 11 games when Phil Neville stepped down as head coach in January, and were then beaten twice in three matches overseen by interim boss Hege Riise.

Wiegman, who guided Holland to Euro 2017 glory on home soil and the final of the 2019 World Cup in France, subsequently took over as head coach in September.

And her four matches in charge so far have seen England score 32 goals and concede none in World Cup qualifying Group D, beating North Macedonia 8-0, Luxembourg 10-0, Northern Ireland 4-0 and Latvia 10-0.

Their 2021 fixtures conclude with Saturday’s clash with Austria in Sunderland and Tuesday’s against Latvia in Doncaster and Wiegman expects a similar level of performance at the Stadium of Light.

“I’m totally convinced we will not drop (our level),” Wiegman said. “We will just try to improve our style of play again.

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“Make sure we are prepared for Austria, know how they play, what we want to do, how we get our game to the next level and focus on that and hopefully that brings us another win and some goals.

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The goals have flowed under Wiegman (John Walton/PA)

The goals have flowed under Wiegman (John Walton/PA)

PA

The goals have flowed under Wiegman (John Walton/PA)

“They have a pretty experienced team. They have been growing, they have a very clear style of play and are well organised. I expect a tougher game than any we have played so far.”

Austria are second in Group D behind England after three wins and a 2-2 draw in Northern Ireland last time out and Wiegman added: “They had a hard time against Northern Ireland.

“They have good players, a lot of them play in Germany so we expect a good competitive match, although I do think – and hope – that we will have more possession than them.”

Manchester City striker Ellen White is set to win her 100th England cap against Austria and also needs two more goals to draw level with the country’s all-time top scorer Kelly Smith on 46.

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England’s Ellen White (left) and Beth Mead during a training session at St George’s Park (Tim Goode/PA)

England’s Ellen White (left) and Beth Mead during a training session at St George’s Park (Tim Goode/PA)

PA

England’s Ellen White (left) and Beth Mead during a training session at St George’s Park (Tim Goode/PA)

“We want to have a good performance and Ellen is only focused on the game,” Wiegman added. “It’s going to be a special one and hopefully she will get a  great performance for herself and for us as a team.

“I hope we score a lot of goals again and it doesn’t really matter who scores the goals.

“She’s really close to this record so it would be really nice for her personally (to do it on Saturday) and for us as a team too, because that means we score a lot of goals.

“She has had an amazing journey already and when you reach 100 caps it’s very impressive.”

Chelsea defender Millie Bright will lead the side in place of the injured Leah Williamson, the captain for each of their previous four Group D matches in the absence of Steph Houghton, who remains sidelined herself.

“It’s a big moment,” said Bright, who will also be captain against Latvia at the Keepmoat Stadium on Tuesday, where she used to play for Doncaster Belles.

“To have the trust of Sarina to make me captain for this camp is unbelievable and to do it in places where I’m from and where football started for me and the other girls is a proud moment.”


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