Northern Ireland boss Kenny Shiels insisted it would be a “massive failure” if England failed to win Euro 2022 after his side were brushed aside by the host country.
The Lionesses drove to a 5-0 win over the Shiels side at St. Mary’s Stadium on Friday night to lead Group A with a 100 percent record and cement their place among tournament favorites.
After feeling the full force of what England have to offer, the Northern Ireland manager was unequivocal on his prospects.
Shiels said: “We haven’t played as much as we normally do because they are too good for us and it would be a massive failure if they didn’t win this tournament. Everyone else should just go home.”
England’s performance was all the more impressive given the absence of head coach Sarina Wiegman, who was back at the team hotel after testing positive for Covid-19.
Assistant coach Arjan Veurink said: “Of course we wanted to continue on the good path we are on right now, so I think Sarina will also be very happy with this performance.
“I think the team has shown that we have a lot of qualities, whatever is going on, and that’s what pleased me the most.
“They were calm, they were relaxed and it’s not great that Sarina isn’t here, but they reacted really well and I’m happy with the team’s performance and the great goals they scored.”
Wiegman could also miss the quarter-final game against England. Having placed in Group A, they meet Group B runners-up – either Spain or Denmark – in Brighton on Wednesday.
“As we all know, everyone reacts differently to Covid, so it’s difficult for me to comment on that,” said Veurink. “But as Covid has taught us, we can also do a lot of things digitally, so hopefully she’ll be on the team as soon as possible.”
At the start of the game, England had scored 93 goals in 16 games since Wiegman took the helm in September 2021 and they continued on that winning streak even without her on the touchline as they have scored 14 unanswered goals at Euro 2022 so far .
Group winners England needed until 40 minutes to break through against already eliminated Northern Ireland, but Fran Kirby’s beautiful strike put them ahead and Beth Mead quickly doubled her lead just before half-time.
Substitute Alessia Russo, who came on for Ellen White at half-time, struck twice in close succession right after the restart before Kelsie Burrows completed the goal with a late own goal.
Shiels was proud of his side’s performance, although in the end they were convincingly beaten by a team he believes should win the trophy.
Shiels, whose squad included 13 amateur players, said: “I think it would always be difficult for us but I don’t know if anyone realizes that England haven’t conceded a goal in the last three years (World Cup qualifiers, Euro – and European qualifiers) football and we played them four times.
“They’re that much further up the ladder from us.”
He added: “I was proud of the players, how they lined up, they gave it their all and I have to say I was really impressed with how we stuck to our task.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/england-sarina-wiegman-stadium-northern-ireland-alessia-russo-b2124551.html Kenny Shiels: It would be a massive failure if England didn’t win Euro 2022