England didn’t slow down on Friday night as they beat Northern Ireland 5-0 in their last Group A game despite having already qualified for the quarter-finals of Euro 2022 in as a group winner.
Head coach Sarina Wiegman was absent on the St Mary touchline due to a positive Covid-19 result, leaving assistant Arjun Veurink to oversee the side from the sidelines.
He confirmed Wiegman is “fine” after the win, having been in remote contact with her throughout, but could not give details on when the Dutchman is likely to return to the English side.
“Sarina is fine, unfortunately not well enough to be here,” he said. “It’s hard for me to say anything about [whether she will be back for the quarter-final]. She won’t be joining us live, but as Covid has taught us, there’s a lot we can do remotely too. I hope she will be with the team as soon as possible.”
Kenny Shiels’ Northern Ireland side, whose exit from the tournament has already been confirmed, were breached four times in 12 minutes either side of the break as Fran Kirby, Beth Mead and substitute Alessio Russo – two times – hit for the Lionesses, which Veurink especially liked.
“They showed that no matter what, we have a lot of qualities and that’s what I liked the most,” he said. “We were calm and relaxed. It’s not great that Sarina isn’t there, but they reacted very well and I’m happy with the performance of the team and the great goals we scored.
“We brought in five new players, so it’s good for the team and for the development of the players and the team. Hopefully we can grow with that in the next phase.
“Sarina used the word ‘relentless’ from the start. That’s what we’re doing really well right now. When you create a lot of chances, you can also miss. We have a lot of confidence that we’ll create a lot of chances. occasions… We’re really happy with that.”
Asked if England had sent a message that they were strong contenders to lift their first major trophy this summer, Veurink added: “Of course we want to continue the good performance we have in this moment. I think Sarina will be really happy with that performance as well. The dynamic is really important.
Shiels: A huge failure if England don’t win the Euros
Northern Ireland manager Kenny Shiels has once again reiterated England’s ability in his squad after yet another defeat to the Lionesses – their fourth in the space of a year.
Although he believes he has two of the tournament’s best players in his squad, he believes England have the depth of talent to go deep in the competition and potentially even be crowned Euro 2022 champions at the end of July.
“It was always going to be difficult for us,” he said. “I don’t know if everyone realizes it, but England haven’t conceded a goal in the last three years of ‘real football’ with the Euros and the World Cup. [qualifiers].
“We’ve been beaten by them four times…at an average of 4-0 or 5-0. But they’re averaging 9-0 over the period and haven’t conceded a goal. That’s how badly they are higher in the ladder are from us.
“I thought our organization tonight was great, we put them in a nullifying position. They got a deflected goal and then another. They were obviously the better team and I was proud of the players and the way how they adapted to the way we set up.
“They were fantastic, they gave their all and I have to say I was really impressed with the way we stuck to our task. We created a few chances, or half chances, and that reflected on us. We haven’t played as much as we normally would have because they’re too good for us.
“It would be a huge failure if they didn’t win this tournament because they are home and drunk. Everyone should just go home.
“If you were picking a team from now on, from what we’ve seen, Northern Ireland have the best left-back in Demi Vance and the best centre-back in Sarah McFadden.
“There’s no one better in the tournament than these two – but two isn’t enough to develop these players and help them reach these standards.”
Follow Euro 2022 on Sky Sports
Catch up on all the latest Euro 2022 news on Sky Sports and Sky Sports News this summer.
Coverage will be anchored by Sky Sports WSL presenter Caroline Barker, alongside Jessica Creighton and Kyle Walker. Meanwhile, Karen Carney, Sue Smith, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and Laura Bassett will provide analysis throughout the tournament.
They will also be joined by experienced England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley and Manchester City defender Esme Morgan.
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 the matches are taking place.
Additionally, Sky Sports’ Essential Football Podcast will be rebranded for the Sky Sports Women’s Euros Podcast Tournament from June 21. Hosted by Charlotte Marsh and Anton Toloui, it will feature exclusive news and player interviews in addition to a solid tournament programme.
Euro 2022: The groups…
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
Euro 2022: The schedule…
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
Group A: England 8-0 Norway
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 0-5 England
Group A: Austria 1-0 Norway
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 v Belgium – Kick off 8pm, Manchester City Academy Stadium
Wednesday July 20
Quarter-Final 1: England v Second Group B – Kick-off 8pm, Brighton and Hove Community Stadium
Thursday July 21
Quarter-Final 2: Germany v Austria – 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: Quarter-Final Winners 1 v Quarter-Final Winners 3 – Kick-off 8pm, Bramall Lane
Wednesday July 27
Semi-Final 2: Winner Quarter-Final 2 v Winner Quarter-Final 4 – Kick-off 8pm, Stadium MK
Sunday July 31
Winners Semi-Final 1 v Winners Semi-Final 2 – Kick-off 5pm, Wembley