Sarina Wiegman says England have been dealt a ‘big lesson’ after suffering their first defeat in 31 matches in a shock 2-0 loss to Australia.
The Lionesses had gone into Tuesday’s friendly at Brentford’s Gtech Community Stadium in high spirits after winning a penalty shootout against Brazil in the women’s Finalissima last Thursday.
That result was the 26th win of Wiegman’s near flawless reign in charge – with the other four matches all draws – but the European champions followed it up with an error-strewn display against Australia.
Chelsea’s Sam Kerr opened the scoring after skipper Leah Williamson under-hit a header back to Mary Earps, while Charlotte Grant doubled the lead in the 67th minute after a back-post header took a big deflection off Williamson.
The Lionesses had dominated the match otherwise, boasting 71% possession and 16 shots compared to Australia’s five.
England are not in action again until the World Cup – which they kick-off against Haiti on July 22 – and Wiegman says her team will take their sub-par performance against Australia and learn from it ahead of this summer’s tournament.
Asked if the result is a concern going into the World Cup, Wiegman told ITV Sport: ‘Well as you know from wins and losses – well, this is the first time we lose – we always take learnings.
‘Also in the games we won or we tied, we saw things that we did well and we also saw things that we have to do better. And we know we have to improve to be at our best at the World Cup. So every game is a learning and this one was a big one I think.’
On the match itself, she continued: ‘They were very efficient in the chances they got. I think we gave them chances, but most of all in possession I think we were a little bit too slow.
‘They waited for us and then you need dynamics, you need runs, opposite movements, being tight on the ball, we needed to switch the play more, stretch them in width and depth – but we didn’t do that well enough. We did create some chances but just in the final third we weren’t good enough.’
Captain Williamson added: ‘We looked like we were lacking ideas a little bit on the ball. Definitely could be better, and we got punished.
‘Obviously my mistake for the first goal and then they were pretty ruthless on the counter. We could have had a little bit more about us tonight.’
On whether the result dents England’s World Cup aspirations, Williamson replied: ‘Absolutely not a setback. To be honest, sometimes you have to take blessings in disguise and maybe that’s not the worst thing that could happen to us.
‘We want to learn, we’ve wanted to learn this whole time, we’ve wanted to be pushed to our limit and we need to take it up a new level. So in the past we’ve won those games, turned them around, but actually tonight to lose it gives you a bit of fire.’
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