‘So far ahead’: Shiels warns England falling short of Euros title will be failure

  • Northern Ireland manager says rivals have ‘the best players’
  • Alessia Russo adds Lionesses must be ‘ready for what’s to come’

Northern Ireland’s manager, Kenny Shiels, believes England should be deemed “failures” if they do not win Euro 2022. Shiels made the ­assessment after watching the hosts beat his side 5-0 to rubberstamp their place in the quarter-finals of the tournament.

Shiels was proud of his team’s first appearance in a major tournament. However, after goals from Fran Kirby, Beth Mead, two from Alessia Russo and an own goal by Kelsie Burrows took England’s tally to 14 goals for and none against in three Group A games, he said the pressure was piling up on Sarina Wiegman’s side.

“England is so far ahead of ­everybody at this time,” Shiels said. “I have to say if they don’t win the ­tournament, it would be a ­failure of the best players. If you have the best players you have to win, as simple as that.”

Russo responded by saying ­England are not the only top nation with ambitions of lifting the trophy at Wembley on 31 July. “There’s so many top, talented sides in this ­tournament and we’re excited to go now in the quarter-finals,” said the Manchester United striker. “I think we’ve got to be ready for what’s to come, because this is where we meet the big hitters. We’re excited but [there’s] lots of ­preparation still to be done.”

Wiegman missed the game in Southampton after testing positive for Covid so it was left to her ­assistant, Arjan Veurink, to lead England from the touchline and afterwards he ­confirmed the head coach had been helping him remotely. Wiegman hopes to be back for Wednesday’s quarter-final in Brighton with either Denmark or Spain, who face off tonight in Brentford.

England’s assistant coach Arjan Veurink confirmed he had been in touch remotely during the game with Sarina Wiegman, who missed the match after testing positive for Covid.
England’s assistant coach Arjan Veurink confirmed he had been in touch remotely during the game with Sarina Wiegman, who missed the match after testing positive for Covid. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA

In front of a sell-out 30,785 crowd at St Mary’s, England took their record to 98 goals scored in the 17 matches – 15 wins and two draws – since Wiegman took charge last September.

In contrast with Monday’s 8-0 victory over Norway, who were eliminated after losing 1-0 to Austria, England did not score for the opening 40 minutes.

“For the first 30 minutes, to be fair to Northern Ireland, they did well,” Veurink said. “We didn’t use the right spaces to play in and that’s one of the things we tried to put some attention on. We did really well in the first part of the second half. Sometimes, when opponents are defending in a low block, it is really difficult.”

Sign up to our new women’s football newsletter.

England’s attacking substitutes – Russo, Chloe Kelly and Ella Toone – helped England stretch the play more after the interval and Veurink praised the strength in depth.

“It’s brilliant,” he said. “It’s a great team to work with and we know we have a strong team. It’s really good to get different players on the pitch and we’re happy with them as well. It’s a good team performance tonight.”


Peter Lansley at St Mary's

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
England maintain perfect start as Russo double caps rout of Northern Ireland
Alessia Russo scored twice in five second-half minutes as England cantered to a 5-0 victory to end Group A with three wins from three

Suzanne Wrack at St Mary's

15, Jul, 2022 @9:01 PM

Article image
England and Northern Ireland to meet in Women’s Euro 2022 group stage
Hosts England will face Austria in the tournament opener, with Norway and Northern Ireland joining them in Group A

Will Unwin in Manchester

28, Oct, 2021 @5:01 PM

Article image
England’s Sarina Wiegman to avoid big changes for Northern Ireland game
The England manager, Sarina Wiegman, said she is focused on ‘rhythm’ for the game against Northern Ireland and has got her players practising penalties

Suzanne Wrack

14, Jul, 2022 @6:29 PM

Article image
Women’s Euro 2022 draw: group-by-group guide | Rich Laverty
England are set to face familiar foes, while Germany, Denmark, Spain and Finland will do battle in the ‘Group of Death’

Rich Laverty

28, Oct, 2021 @8:14 PM

Article image
Northern Ireland’s Shiels mars England win by blaming ‘emotional’ women
Northern Ireland’s manager has claimed women footballers concede goals in quick succession because they are ‘more emotional than men’

Suzanne Wrack at Windsor Park

12, Apr, 2022 @8:56 PM

Article image
‘Biggest honour’: Williamson named England captain for Women’s Euros
Leah Williamson has been named as England’s captain for the European Championship this summer with Millie Bright announced as vice-captain

Suzanne Wrack

05, Apr, 2022 @2:24 PM

Article image
England Women delay Euros squad cut after Wiegman family bereavement
The announcement of England’s Euros squad has been delayed until Sarina Wiegman returns to training at St George’s Park next week

Suzanne Wrack

06, Jun, 2022 @3:22 PM

Article image
Lauren Hemp urges England teammates to ‘embrace’ Euros selection D-day
Lauren Hemp has urged England’s players to enjoy every day of the Euros summer as nerves build in the Lionesses camp before the squad announcement on Wednesday

Peter Lansley

14, Jun, 2022 @11:00 AM

Article image
England and Germany meet again for Euros final but goalposts have moved
These sides met in the 2009 Women’s Euros final but that game belongs in a different era – Sunday’s match will show just how far the game has come

Jonathan Liew

30, Jul, 2022 @7:00 AM

Article image
Nobbs to miss Euros but Houghton and Kirby in provisional England squad
Arsenal’s Jordan Nobbs will miss the Euros with a knee injury that has led to her omission from the 28-player provisional England squad

Suzanne Wrack

17, May, 2022 @2:00 PM