England Women head coach Sarina Wiegman insists she is “not worried” by Australia ending their 30-game unbeaten run just 100 days before the start of the World Cup.
England suffered a first defeat under Wiegman as they were beaten 2-0 in a friendly at Brentford’s Gtech Community Stadium by Australia, who co-host the World Cup with New Zealand this summer.
The world No 4-ranked Lionesses, who lifted the inaugural women’s Finalissima trophy at Wembley last week, were favourites to beat the world’s 10th-ranked side, but goals from Chelsea’s Sam Kerr and Charlotte Grant gave them a shock victory in west London.
It was the last scheduled match for the European champions ahead of the World Cup, where England begin their campaign against Haiti on July 22.
Asked whether she was now worried that momentum had been lost going into the World Cup, Wiegman replied: “I’m not worried. I don’t worry very quickly.
“We know we have to be at our top level and that’s when we go into the World Cup too.
“Every game we get some warnings – against Brazil we got some warnings in the Finalissima. We know where we want to go to and what we have to do.
“I don’t think we’re losing momentum, I think it’s building. There’s 100 days to go and everyone’s really excited to go to Australia and this is just a very big learning moment for us that we need to get to a higher level to win these games.”
England tasted defeat for the first time in two years after last losing to Canada in April 2021 under interim boss Hege Riise.
Questioned about the 30-game unbeaten run being over, Wiegman responded: “I haven’t been focused on that ever.
“We just want to win every next game and you remind us all of the time [about the unbeaten run] but we don’t talk about that in our camp.
“We talk about the next game and we want to improve every game and try to adapt to the opponent.
“I would’ve loved to have had a 31st win but sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.”
Williamson: Defeat a blessing in disguise
The defeat against Australia comes less than four months to go until the World Cup, but England captain Leah Williamson believes the loss could be of benefit to them before the tournament.
She told ITV: “[It’s] absolutely not a setback [before the World Cup]. Sometimes you have to take blessings in disguise and I think maybe that’s not the worst thing that could’ve happened to us.
“We wanted to learn this whole time, we wanted to be pushed to our limits and we need to take it up a new level.
“In the past, we won those games, we turned them around but actually tonight to lose it gives you a bit of fire.”
The Arsenal defender made a mistake for Kerr’s opener on a miserable night for the Lionesses.
Asked whether it was her toughest night personally for England, she admitted: “Yeah. That first goal probably made it worse for me than everybody else but the whole team feels really, really rubbish about losing. It hurts.”
She added: “We were lacking ideas on the ball, definitely could be better and we got punished.
“Obviously my mistake for the first goal and they were pretty ruthless on the counter. I think we could’ve had a little bit more about us tonight.
“Sometimes you’re going to have those games. They were well organised. Efficiency was the word Sarina used, we weren’t as efficient as we usually are. We need to figure out why.”
England’s next scheduled match is at the World Cup as they get their tournament underway against Haiti on July 22; kick-off 10.30am.
Australia take on France in a friendly on July 14 in their next scheduled match before their World Cup campaign gets under way against Republic of Ireland on July 20; kick-off 11am.
What is the World Cup schedule?
The group stage will begin on July 20 and run over a two-week period finishing on August 3 and see group winners and runners-up progress to the round of 16, which takes place from August 5 to August 8.
The quarter-finals, which will be held in Wellington, Auckland, Brisbane and Sydney, are scheduled for August 11 and 12.
The first semi-final will then be played on August 15 in Auckland, with the other semi-final taking place on August 16 at the Accor Stadium in Sydney, which will then host the final on August 20.
A third-place play-off will be played the day before the final on August 19 in Brisbane.