Sarina Wiegman reminds England of the World Cup goal after the USA win

Sarina Wiegman stressed that England can only claim to be the best team in the world if they won the World Cup after their side beat the United States 2-1 in a friendly at Wembley.

Returning to the scene of their historic European Championship triumph over the summer, the Lionesses recorded their first victory since 2017 over the USA, who they beat en route to the 2019 World Cup.

England are unbeaten in 23 games under Wiegman and have won 21 of them as they prepare for next summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

When asked if her team is the best in the world right now, Wiegman said: “You’re the best team in the world when you’ve won the World Cup – we’re not.

“I think we’re in a very good place, but like I say all the time, it’s so close, there are so many good countries.

“We did really well, but we have to keep going, keep working hard and execute on our plans.

“I think you saw our team grow very, very much. But we’re also picking up on some things that we can really do better, we’re doing our best to be as good as possible and hopefully that will bring us a lot more success – but we don’t know right now.”

In front of 76,893 spectators, England took the lead through Lauren Hemp’s 10th-minute finish before Sophia Smith equalized in the 28th minute after Georgia Stanway lost the ball near her own penalty area.

The Lionesses then benefited from two VAR checks – one resulted in a penalty that saw Stanway restore the lead after 33 minutes and another shortly after when Trinity Rodman’s strike was disallowed for the visitors as Smith was ruled offside.

VAR also ensured a late penalty was awarded against England for a handball nullified with the ball hitting Hemp’s legs.

Wiegman thought England deserved winners, adding: “We can take a lot from that. We’re not winning a World Cup now, but it’s really good to have this moment, this game in this environment where all the people are cheering us on as we prepare for next year.

“This is absolutely a good move. I think the euro was also a very good measure.

“It’s good to have a test against USA because they’ve won so many things over the years. So much respect for them but hopefully we’re catching up – and again it’s October now, it’s not July yet.”

At the game, England and the US wore teal armbands in what they said was “a demonstration of unity and common cause… to show solidarity with victims of sexual abuse”. Just before kick-off, the teams together held up a banner that read ‘PROTECT THE PLAYERS’ while the Wembley Arch was also lit up in teal.

The game came four days after an independent investigation released a report that said verbal and emotional abuse and sexual misconduct had “become systemic” in America’s National Women’s Soccer League.

US boss Vlatko Andonovski said: “It was a very special moment when the players got together and had the banner. I got goosebumps and to see the support from the fans applauding at that moment was incredible.

“It was a statement that we must stop sexual violence. The players have done an amazing job using this game as a platform to fight this.”

Wiegman said: “It was very important. We all wanted to be very supportive because it’s very awful that these situations are occurring. It should stop, people are speaking up and I think that’s very strong and we need to make sure that changes and doesn’t happen again.” Sarina Wiegman reminds England of the World Cup goal after the USA win

Fry Electronics Team

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