England boss Sarina Wiegman is Dutch supercoach making history by leading her ruthless Lionesses to Sunday’s Euros final


ON SUNDAY Wiegman will emulate Sir Alf Ramsey and Gareth Southgate by leading an England team into a major tournament final at Wembley. 

Sarina Wiegman, the inscrutable former PE teacher with the most impressive CV in women’s coaching, always was a decent bet to transform England from serial semi-final bottlers into steely-eyed winners in the Steel City.  

After the frankly-weird appointment of Wiegman’s predecessor Phil Neville – a “big name” with no prior experience of the women’s game – the FA simply went out and got the best person for the job this time. 

Wiegman won the last Euros and reached a World Cup final with her native Holland and is now unbeaten in 19 matches in charge of the Lionesses.

Before her arrival last year, England had not just lost three straight semi-finals, they had lost them due to own goals, red cards, missed penalties and dodgy back-passes. 

That suggested a psychological problem, a susceptibility to pressure. None of which was on show at Bramall Lane last night as England stuffed Sweden in the Euros semi-final.

Under Wiegman, the Lionesses were utterly clinical against a team ranked No2 in the world. 

You don’t nutmeg a goalkeeper with a back-heel to score in a major semi-final – as sub Alessia Russo did to clinch this victory with England’s third goal – if you are shy of the limelight. 

Wiegman has moulded England into an impressively ruthless outfit.

Hammering a decent Norway side 8-0, then finding a late equaliser and an extra-time winner to defeat a technically-superior Spanish side in the quarter-final. 

And now this, as the woman from the Netherlands guided us into Never-Never Land. 

Wiegman’s players insist their manager is a decent “people person” behind her emotionless touchline persona – although she is capable of being brutal in the dressing-room when needs be.

In this breakthrough tournament, the Lionesses have become prime-time small-screen stars. 

Wiegman, though, is no TV personality, no light entertainer. She gives little away in interviews, she gives little away in the dugout and her team perform in their manager’s own image.   

While the boss is poker-faced she is no shuffler of the pack, choosing the same starting line-up for the fifth consecutive game. 

There had been plenty of clamour for changes after some impressive substitute performances against Spain last week – not least from Russo, whose impudent goal was the crowning glory of a hugely-significant night for English women’s football. 

But Wiegman was unmoved. After presiding over ten straight wins in Euros finals, it might be best for everyone to concede that she knows what she is doing.  

The Swedes are the highest-ranked nation in Europe but they had hardly set the tournament ablaze – struggling to overcome a limited Belgium in the quarter-finals. 

Yet they might have scored three times in the opening ten minutes, hitting the bar and forcing a couple of decent saves from England goalkeeper Mary Earps. 

For a brief while, England looked nervous, almost panic-stricken, in defence. 

Yet as the half wore on, they began to create half-chances and then, on 34 minutes, it was time for Sudden Beth. 

In the blink of an eye, Beth Mead swivelled and rammed home her sixth goal of the tournament, keeping her on course for the Golden Boot. 

England were fortunate to lead at the break but there was nothing lucky about a dreamlike second half. 

Lucy Bronze headed home from a corner, Russo applied her glorious dollop of sauce and then Fran Kirby lobbed keeper Hedvig Lindahl for the fourth. 

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