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Women’s Euros: England coach confident despite Covid-enforced absences vs Spain

Sarina Wiegman says Covid-19 absences – including her own – are not a “worst nightmare” for her England side, but is not yet sure if she will be in the dugout for tomorrow’s crunch England 2022 UEFA Women’s Championship quarter-final clash against Spain in Brighton.

Hosts England face their toughest test yet as they take on Spain in the quarter-finals of Euro 2022, although neither side have had the smoothest of preparations.

The United Kingdom has been hit by an unprecedented heatwave that has seen temperatures reach over 40 degrees, while Wiegman has not been around the squad after testing positive for Covid-19.

“I’m good, feeling well and ready to go, but still have to wait,” she told the press in a virtual press conference today. “Of course, I’m very hopeful [to be at the game], but we’ll see what happens. We do know is if I can’t be there, I’ll be around in another way.

“It’s not the worst nightmare, it’s just the situation we have to deal with. Months ago, we looked at what we can expect, what could develop during the tournament, on and off this pitch, and this was one of them so we set everything in place.

“We have already practised with me not being around, which we already practised a little bit in our pre-camps. But I am around and still doing my job.

“I’ve been involved in all of training from a big distance with a mask on and make sure that I don’t get too close to people. You can observe closely and sometimes give a message to the technical staff, who have a workflow that’s so fluent that everyone knows what to do. We’re all connected anyway.

“We just deal with the situation, it’s unfortunate and we don’t want this but no one ever wanted Covid, it’s something we have to deal with and we want to be agile and flexible.

“It’s a lot better when you do it live and together, but we’ve learnt the last three years that we can be efficient in different ways. That’s what we’re doing not, we’re adapting to the situation.”

Spain are not a new opponent for England – have faced them in the Arnold Clark Cup in February, which ended in a goalless draw – and Wiegman is confident the Lionesses can expose La Roja’s weaknesses.

“They are missing two key players in (Jennifer) Hermoso and (Alexia) Putellas, but I still think they’re a very good team,” she said. “They’re very tight on the ball, but we have also seen over the last few games that they have some vulnerabilities.

“I do expect the game they have played all the time, they will probably have the ball a lot, I hope we will too. We played them before and they had a little more of the ball, but that’s OK in certain moments of the game. I think we’re pretty confident on the ball so I’m excited to see what it’s going to look like.

“It’s all about trying to use our strengths and exploit their weaknesses. We know that if we’re a little deeper on the pitch, there will be a lot of space because of their attacking style of play. We are aware of that.

“Absolutely it’s going to be a top game tomorrow and I hope we will be successful.”

Sky Sports

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